How Today's Digital World Allowed Me To Have So Many Mentors I've Never Met
Geography is no longer my master.
I am finishing my college education while living at home with my parents. I live in a sleepy Florida town that boasts a population of 25,701, according to the last census.
It's not exactly the kind of place where you would envision superstars being born and raised, even if it is neighbors with the city where Ariana Grande got her start.
I used to believe I would need to live in New York City or Los Angeles to snag the opportunities I wanted in life. I believed that in order to meet the thinkers, the doers, the movers and the shakers, I would have to live in a place filled with millions of people.
I was wrong. As long as I had a stable Internet connection, I could be part of a place that's bigger than New York City, Los Angeles or even the world’s most populous city, Tokyo.
Ideas, images, writings and potential friendships are at my fingertips. I do not have to leave home, even, in order to share my thoughts or artwork; someone somewhere will receive my message.
I have been part of the Internet community for a long time. What started with learning how to strategize on video games and make friends to play with turned into finding a community of people I admire, despite never having met them in person.
I’ve been on the writing scene for five years. I have published two books but have not met many members of the teams that made them. I have not met editors, designers, marketing assistants, endorsers and so many other people who helped make my dreams a reality.
I’ve never even met the folks who are letting you read this right now. I have never met the majority of those who react to or read my work. It is pretty cool to have the support of strangers who believe in your dreams.
I have never met the people who hold the most influence, but in an effort to connect with them, I didn't even leave my bedroom, let alone city. My editors are out of London; my favorite blogger is out of Boston, and my inspirations originate from around the globe.
I have sent many emails and text messages to people with whom I will never make eye contact or likely even speak on the phone. The power of words and their influences grow as the Internet continues to boom and fill its space with new and rising voices.
My colleagues and fellow people around the world who look for influences or communication have also become friends. I have friends I’ve never met (which is a bit of a strange concept, considering how important Internet safety is).
I can write to them since writing is my primary language. There are also plenty of people on the Internet who influence me and will likely never realize it, which adds to the mystique and beauty of our anonymously open, connected culture.
I realize that I influence people around the world, too. I save the comments and letters I have received over the years.
It helps me motivate myself when I remember that I have heard from people in Brazil, Belgium, Denmark, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Australia and more places I may never get to visit.
I have managed to influence people and make friends from everywhere – all while living at home in an unsuspecting, small town.
Photo Courtesy: Tumblr