Hardly a day goes by that the impact of the internet in general, and the blogosphere in particular, upon our sense of 'community' is not demonstrated.
For me, one such demonstration came from the contacts I have made with two new, virtual friends in Pennsylvania - entirely through weblogs.
One is Frank Wilson, the Philadelphia Inquirer's Book Review Editor. He writes an "Editor's Choice" column each Sunday in the 'Books' section, and posts daily at BOOKS, INQ.
The other is Jim, a "Professional Institutional Christian Cog." He comes to us "almost live from scenic Pottstown, PA," his "semi-stimulating corner of the bloggiverse" at serotoninrain
This part of my virtual community was developed in much the same way we develop our actual community. I met Frank by chance, stumbling across his blog while 'exploring,' clicking on that 'Next Blog' button in the upper-right-hand corner of Blogger sites, and seeing where it takes me. Jim, on the other hand, I have met through an introduction of sorts, through a mutual friend we share ... Eric Siegmund, over at The Fire Ant Gazette
Their being Pennsylvanians, and I being an expatriate from the Keystone State, our conversations have more than once touched upon something of special significance to that part of the world. For example, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina smashing into the American Gulf Coast states, Frank's blog offered a forum where some of us could share our memories of Tropical Storm Agnes, and the devastation that storm wreaked upon the Susquehanna River Valley. On a lighter note, anticipating a trip I'll be taking to Pennsylvania, Jim has recommended that I visit "the best little coffee/pastry shop north of the Schuylkill River" (I will, and I hope he'll be my guest, there, for coffee and pastry when I do).
There is, of course, a lot more to be said about the concept of community on the blogosphere, its practice and its impact. And I suspect I shall be touching upon it again, in the future.
For now, though, I have a virtual community of my own to explore and develop, and some changes to make to the 'Blogs of Note' feature on my site. And, if there's any improvement to be made to these friendships I have made online, it may come on that day that I actually meet these virtual friends, these happy few, these dang Yankees from back east.