Watching Your Community Grow is Like Witnessing a Seed Bloom Into a Garden of Awesome

I will be the first to admit that I am not always the most patient person. But I will also acknowledge that this is solely dependent on what I am waiting for. If I was waiting for someone in a store to check out and they had 50 coupons and was paying via personal check, I would just stand back and wait. However, if I were playing a video game like The Last of Us, I lose all forms of patience while waiting for a Clicker to walk by my hiding spot.

But here I am on July 26, 2016, looking over numbers and stats, comments and responses on various social media platforms that I manage on my own. I have moments where I think to myself “holy crap… I interact with people A LOT.” I remember back when I was a kid, I was very shy. I didn’t play with other kids; I just kept to myself in my own corner. My dad said he would feel bad whenever he would pick me up from school because I was always alone. I was considered a strange bird by many. I remember learning about shapes. The teacher asked us to makes squares, and I made circles. I got made fun of for it. A lot of that awkward carried over into my teenage and young adult years. I always felt out of place wherever I was. I could get along with people just fine, but I never felt like most people really understood me. There were a few, but they either moved away, physically or emotionally.

In the last couple years, I really started focusing on me. I didn’t have a solid plan, but I found the beginnings of a path that was interesting to me, and I blindly went down it. My love for video games never waned, so I learned more about the industry, the people, the products, and I found that I loved video games even more. A former co-worked connected me to Randy Greenback and he was my first look into the welcoming culture of game development. He may not know it, but the few conversations we had changed my life for the better. By the way, he’s currently working on the new Friday the 13th game. You should totally check it out.

With Randy’s helpful and wise words backing me, I delved into the world of networking. I was more active on Twitter, I eventually created the blog that is currently housing the very post you are reading, and I focused on the elements of community and bringing people together. I’ve met and e-met so many different people, good and bad, it’s quite mind blowing to me. I’ve had amazing experiences and not so great ones, but I couldn’t find a better fit for my personality.

Fast forward to now. I have a small following on the internet and it’s a fascinating mix of acquaintances, friends, family, and completely strangers. While the numbers aren’t huge compared to the bigger names on these platforms, I find solace in knowing that this is MY community. I don’t have one focus either. I update Twitter primarily, but I am active on YouTube, Twitch, Facebook, this blog, Vine, and a few others. I try to create an environment where there is something for everyone. That’s why I made the GeekyFriedRice Guild. Doesn’t matter if you love just anime or video games or cosplay or movies or if you love it all… you have a place here. Nerdy? Geeky? Great. You’ll fit right in! I enjoy conversing with people of different backgrounds because it helps shape and grow my own perspective of the world.

I didn’t think I would be here. I didn’t think I would be attending or volunteering for conventions and building relationships and friendships. I didn’t think that people would actually care about me or the things I love doing. I didn’t think people would come up to me and say “you don’t know me but I wanted to say hi and thank you for what you’re doing.” I didn’t think I would ever be that type of influence for people, but it’s happening, and I recognize that, and it makes me want to do better. And this isn’t all on me either. You guys help me a great deal as well. This is a two-way street here. I hope you all know how much I appreciate you.

I just recently identified my community as the GeekyFriedRice Guild. I’m not sure exactly what the future holds for it, but it warms my heart that you are here. For real. I’m being super cereal. Thank you for being my community. Less than three you!

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