Friday, August 10, 2007

Get Involved

A community is only as good as the involvement of its members. Lost and Found allows people to reach out to others by asking for help, answering questions, and providing support. It is a space to make connections and pass along information. If you're not inclusive, you're being exclusive and exclusivity has no place beside the word community. Lost and Found is open to anyone in the infertility, pregnancy loss, adoption, pregnancy-and-parenting after infertility, assisted conception, living child-free after infertility or loss community (as well as anyone I inadvertently missed on that list).

So the help I need is three-fold. First and foremost, submit news. Think of this as a combination of the front page of the newspaper and an alumni page.
  • Send the happy stuff--pregnancy, birth, or adoption announcements (even if you think the whole blogosphere knows already) as well as the sad stuff--loss announcements so you can get the support you need.
  • If you start a new blog, list it so people can find you (if you've been around for longer than a month, you've started building your readership by commenting on other blogs).
  • Send anything that may be of interest to the blogosphere--for example, Jenna added an announcement about an Oprah episode covering infertility that people may have missed if they hadn't read her blog yet this week. This is not a place to advertise businesses, though I may make an exception if someone draws my attention to something that I think would be of interest to the community (my focus is on the community, not the profit of a private business so I have to believe that others would be interested in hearing about it).
  • If you see someone on the Lost list that you know, let them know that people are looking for them. If you're on the Lost list yourself, provide some information so you can be Found.
  • Promote face-to-face get togethers with other IF/pg loss bloggers in your area.
  • Ask for information or blogs that cover a specific topic.
Sometimes, people are shy about submitting information for themselves. If you read something on a blog that you think belongs in Lost and Found (you are in contact with a "lost" blogger, you know of another blogger's pregnancy or loss, or you know of an accomplishment of another blogger) please check with the blogger first and obtain his/her approval and then send it along. I can only read so many blogs a day and I will miss things if people don't help me out and give me a heads up when they see something that belongs on the list.

Secondly, support those who list information on the page.
  • There are people searching for fellow bloggers who have a similar situation in Connections. Click over and let them know that your blog exists.
  • When people make an announcement--especially an emotional one such as a new pregnancy or a loss announcement--click over and give support. Give them a congratulations or a shoulder-to-cry-on.
  • Say hello to people who list a new blog.
I know last year was supposed to be my Year of Building Community but let's just say that it has bled over into this year too. We have the power to really support each other and make a difference. This is an easy way to do so that takes up less time than clicking through every single blog on my Stirrup Queens side bar in search of giving support. Gandhi said, "we must be the change we wish to see in the world." And I try to live my life by these words. I wish to see people come together more, therefore, I created a space to make it easier for people to come together. And selfishly, I draw from that support so I do it for myself as well.

Thirdly, check the page yourself and let others know that it exists.

Lost and Found really only works if people use it. If they not only post stuff, but they read it too. I update several times a day. People usually only have to wait a few hours to see their words move into the body of the post (see submitting information).

  • Spread the word
  • Bookmark this page
  • Subscribe to the rss feed
  • Email the link to others
  • Add it to your sidebar with the Lost and Found icon
  • Post it on bulletin boards
  • Mention it to other bloggers
  • Write a post about it
  • Check the page daily
So jump into action and be the change you wish to see. We've come together for Commentathons and Blog Roundup Extravaganzas. We've found each other through blilts and bars and blogoversary celebrations. We have changed each other's lives for the better and now we have a chance to catch more people instead of letting them slip through the cracks unnoticed. It's hard enough for a newly-diagnosed stirrup queen or sperm palace jester to swallow their current situation. It's a lot harder when you don't have the support of community. Since we can't be in all places at all times, let's create one place that is everyone's place to use to make connections.

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