Friday, March 27, 2009

The Blogger Next Door

Copyright 2008-2009, Paul Jackson, all rights reserved

The Internet, or at least portions of it, is often described as a community. A big one, spanning the globe and with a lot of those neighbors we’re just a bit concerned about … but a community none-the-less.

One of the cornerstones of community is the concept of banding together to help a neighbor in need. Whether it’s dropping off a casserole so someone doesn’t have to cook in a time of tragedy or an old-fashioned barn-raising, the act of a community reaching out to help an individual is one of the greatest goods humanity has ever created.

Part of the concept’s power is that many people can help one with very little effort – when the load is distributed across an entire community, it’s almost nothing for the individual contributors in the group, but a huge, positive impact on the receiver.

What does this have to do with .Net and programming? Nothing, really, it’s not another metaphor like my online dating post, but in the .Net blogging community, the bloggers and readers are sort of like neighbors – and one of our neighbors has a neighbor who needs some help. (Okay, that’s a bit convoluted, but you’ll get the point in a second.)

Over on the Fear and Loathing blog, Bil Simser has a post today, titled The Girl Next Door, about a neighbor and friend of his that needs a bit of help. The gist of it is that their daughter, Natalie, has been treated for a brain tumor and a result of the treatment is some physical limitations – difficulty holding a pencil, for instance.

In order to help Natalie start getting back to a typical life and start schooling again, they’d like to get her a laptop with Dragon Naturally Speaking – something that would allow her to use the computer with the physical limitations her treatment has placed on her. The family’s faced with some pretty hefty medical costs ($2400 / month), so this is not something they can readily afford … but the community can.

A large number of neighbors in our .Net community can each give a little bit and make a big difference in a little girl’s life.

It doesn’t have to be much from each member of the community and, even in these tight economic times, it doesn’t have to be that big a sacrifice. I spent $2 on a Venti black coffee this morning … I can give up my coffee tomorrow or the next few days in order to help someone, especially the friend of someone whose blog I get value from.

So read Bil’s post and see if our community can help a neighbor.

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