Saying Hello To Invisible Friends

Publicity can be a bit of a sticky wicket. Too much “look at me look at me” is just plain boring and obnoxious. Not enough and opportunities for connection are lost before having a chance to become even a twinkle in somebody’s eye. Even with opportunities to connect, promotion can only go so far without some sense of community.

I think about community whenever I fire up my computer, partly because of the people I’ve connected with online over the years. Those connections didn’t happen automatically. Somewhere along the line someone put their best foot forward, or noticed when someone else did the same.

Today I’m writing up a challenge in support of SEOs Fight Fat, in which I revisit an earlier threat promise idea about dying my hair pink. Before that I’d like to share with my invisible online friends a few reflections on cause-related connections from my past.

funny pictures
moar funny pictures

When my daughter was in about the second grade her school principal put out the word that she’d dress up in a clown costume and roller skate through the halls if a fundraising goal was met. That particular fundraiser was a penny drive. The undersides of lots and lots of couches were ever so much more spotless than before, the goal was marvelously more than met, and the normally coiffed and polished school principal went batwild on skates. Good, community-building fun was had by all.

When my daughter was in middle school there was a youth pastor who said he’d shave his head if the kids made a fundraising goal for a charity project. I suspect that said youth pastor wanted to shave his head anyway, because the goal was on the low side, but that’s between him, his maker, and the kids. On head-shaving day he and the kids made a party of it, glorying in copious amounts of shaving cream and even some dome-top artwork. Good, community-building fun was had by all.

Years ago a fearful and filthy abandoned pet cat was living under the apartment building where we lived. He ate out of the dumpster and watched the world like a hawk, always from a safe distance. Every time I went around to the back of the building to the laundry room I talked to him, as if it mattered. I crooned to him that he was observant, smart, beautiful – a cat among cats. In a few weeks he was accompanying me to the laundry room door and the dumpster, head held high. In a few months I was able to get close enough to start cutting out mats. A quietly satisfying time was had by two. :)

I will remember these things for the rest of my life.

Nobody can bottle this stuff and force it to go viral. On the giving side of the promotional coin, it’s not hard to send fan mail or cast a little bread on the waters, or to give a post a Stumble or a Sphinn, or to stop by and say hello in some small way. It matters.