The first thing you must know about Connie Reece is that her blogging story is a tribute to her dad who never blogged. However, his legacy to his daughter was to embrace the new and take a chance on innovation. Writing blogs that range from business topics to southern humor, Connie went from content to connections, then conversations as she explored the possibilites of social media. Bet her pop is smiling as he dances with the Little
Seems I must have inherited the early-adopter gene from my dad. He always loved being the first to own some new gadget or appliance. Long before microwaves were available for home use, we had a huge restaurant-model "electronic oven" installed in our kitchen. That was in 1964. A few years later Dad shelled out $99 when Texas Instruments debuted their first pocket calculator.
Like father, like daughter. When I became a freelance writer, in the early 1980s, personal computers had just hit the market, and I could hardly wait to ditch my IBM Selectric. I saved for a year to be able to buy a computer, and quickly fell in love with my shiny blue-and-silver Kaypro II, a boxy aluminum suitcase-style computer with a detachable keyboard and a whopping 9-inch monitor. I lugged that 30-pounder around to clients' offices, and made quite the impression. Or at least I thought so.
Before long I had added a Hayes Smartmodem and was dialing up the early BBS providers and doing research online. With the advent of the Internet, my trips to the library dwindled to nothing; content was available at my fingertips.
The Internet not only made my job as a writer easier, it became a lifeline when my father's health started to fail. At age 72 my always healthy, larger-than-life father became feeble. His once-beautiful, flowing handwriting became cramped and almost illegible. His deep, radio-trained voice would suddenly falter in mid-sentence and drop to a whisper. He shuffled his feet. He began falling and fainting.
In 1998 I finally found the answer to the questions our family physician and then the cardiologist had not been able to answer. The Internet provided a diagnosis, then we found a neurologist who confirmed it: Shy-Drager Syndrome, also known as multiple system atrophy.
I also found a support group online, where I happened to post something that I had read in the medical literature. I had discovered that the particular type of vivd but non-threatening hallucinations of small creatures, which my father experienced almost daily, was actually common among sufferers of this disease. One day, a few months before he died, I sat at the computer and poured out my thoughts about my dad and the Little People who entertained him.
When I described the antics of these imaginary beings—which my storytelling father loved to recount in great detail—e-mails began to arrive in my inbox from caregivers grateful to be able to talk with another person who understood. Suddenly they weren't alone anymore.
And neither was I. My search for information had resulted in connections, and ultimately, conversations.
While I was a a very early adopter of web technology, and a long-time participant in online groups and blogs, I did not start my own until a few months ago, when I quit freelancing and went to work for a public relations firm. I took on the responsibility of creating a company blog. To conquer the learning curve of using a blog platform, I started my own blog, called CONnieVERSATIONS. A month later we launched anthonyBarnum's Blog@bilities.
Recently I reconnected with an old friend, and we started a humor blog called Blog@bilities. We write stories about growing up in the South, about working in advertising, marketing, branding, communications, writing, publishing, PR (we've covered a lot of territory between us), and in general celebrating the Southern lifestyle. We're having a blast!
Blogging keeps me informed, keeps me connected with friends and peers—continually expanding that circle—and keeps my creative juices flowing. I think if Descartes were alive today he might well say, "I blog, therefore I am."