Earlier this week, I responded to a friend request on www.DailyMile.com. In case you haven’t visited DailyMile, it is an awesome website that provides a fun format within which to track miles walked/run/swam, etc. At DailyMile you can also watch, motivate and inspire your friends in their own training. On the DailyMile site, people can search for you by name, exercise type, interests and group, and they request your friendship. The other day, I received a friend request from a walker named Pam. When I see a new friend request on my page, I like to look at the requester’s profile to determine our connection. Most of the requests I get are either from people I know in “real life”, or they are 3Day walkers. Pam was one of the latter.
I replied to Pam’s friend request, welcoming her to the 3Day community and acknowledging that I was looking forward to following her training. The message I sent to Pam was pretty much the same one that I have written to welcome other walkers on DailyMile. But something different happened this time. Pam responded right away and we started a dialogue. She mentioned that she was a first-timer and that she was hoping DailyMile would help her to be more motivated in her training. She lamented that she was having some trouble staying motivated; and that she is far away from the rest of her teammates. I encouraged her to follow @the3day and various 3-Day walkers on Twitter, to read the blogs of the online ambassadors, and to “like” the 3Day on facebook. Pam wrote that, up until this point, she had mostly been using facebook to connect to the event. She also told me that although she had a twitter username, she wasn’t using it. I asked her if she’d like me to inquire among my cyber friends whether there were other walkers in her city that she might hook up with. She thought that sounded great.
What happened next was a cyber-storm of activity. My plea for support for my new friend was met with a flurry of affirmative responses, including a few offers from walkers in her city asking for her contact information so that they could reach out to her. Before I could even tell Pam about this development, I realized that she was now following me on Twitter. So I tweeted her a big welcoming ‘shout out’. And the rest, as you sometimes hear, was history. Within a few hours, Pam was tweeting with more 3Day walkers than she could keep track of. I was shaking my head in amazement and joy when, just two hours after I had suggested she start ‘tweeting’, she was making plans with walkers in her area to meet for a training walk. Should I chalk it up to the wonders of cyber communication? Yes, but even moreso, I need to chalk it up to the wonders of the 3Day community!
The intense rapidness of connection that happened between Pam and her new community of local walker friends has a lot in common with how connections happen on the actual event. Imagine this: maybe I’m walking and I meet another walker. She tells me that she’s new to the 3Day and shares her story with me. I listen and I realize that she has a lot in common with someone I met in the dinner tent the night before. As we approach the next Rest Stop, I see the friend from dinner and I call out to her. I introduce my two new friends and they immediately start sharing stories. My dinner friend shouts out to her three teammates to join us, and now the six of us are walking out from the rest stop getting to know one another and making connections that will last miles into our future. Before we know it, our conversation has eaten away at ten more miles. The power of the3Day community has fueled our afternoon and kept us motivated and strong. This is what happens on The3Day, and it happens over and over again, all day long, for three beautiful days. To witness this same magical connectedness happen on my computer screen inspired me to believe that the power of the 3Day is alive every day.