S.M.A.G. is here!

writing

In just a couple of months it will be two years since I started blogging. Writing a blog had never been a goal of mine. In fact it would be fair to say that until I started blogging I didn’t have much of an idea of what it was; or of any social media platforms for that matter. I was a latecomer to the party considering, according to Wikipedia, blogging began in the 1990s!

My goal at the time of beginning blogging was, and still is, to set up a website of educational resources for use in early childhood classrooms or homes. The main message I received when attending a writers’ seminar about digital publishing was the importance of having an “online presence”. I took the advice and started tweeting and blogging.  Here I am now, a semi-experienced tweeter and blogger, still a bit unsure about the online presence.

tweet bird

I started blogging with a goal of posting twice a week, which I have pretty much maintained since then. Initially I had just few readers, all of whom were “real” people, family and friends, I already knew. As much as I was, and am, very grateful for their continued support and encouragement, it was very exciting to receive my first “outside” comment two months later.

It was over four months before any new readers visited and commented regularly. Some of those first readers are still with me (Anne and Caroline), others have moved on, and others have since joined. Now I have a wonderful group of online friends. As with offline friendships we interact when we can, exchanging comments and ideas with each other, mostly on our blogs and Twitter.

I have been as fortunate with my online friendships as I have with my offline friendships. (I was tempted to use the word “real” instead of “offline”, but I consider my online friendships no less real.) We don’t have to see each other every day, every week, or even every month, for the friendships to flourish. Wherever the friendships form, they require certain ingredients to keep them strong, including:

respect, acceptance, attention, appreciation, gratitude, and open communication that goes both ways.

I really appreciate people who challenge and extend my thinking as much as those who are happy to jump on my bandwagon with me, or just come along for the ride.

During the past few months when some of my blogging friends and I have been sharing appreciation for each other and our comments, I have suggested that we belong to S.M.A.G.: The Society of Mutual Appreciation and Gratitude.

It started off in a light-hearted way (yes, I coined it) but others seemed to appreciate the thought and welcomed the idea of belonging to a group that required of them no extra effort. I decided that a S.M.A.G. badge to be displayed by anyone who wished was in order.

In a previous post, I discussed the need for Making choices in how I allocate my use of time while working towards achieving my goals (including posting twice weekly). I shared thoughts about using a contest on 99designs to obtain illustrations for some of my work. While I was very happy with the illustrations, I was a bit uncomfortable with the contest process. However I decided that engaging each of the three runner-up finalists to do other illustrations in a guaranteed one-on-one project would (in my mind) help, in a little way, to make up for all the work they had done without reward. I have since done this and feel much happier about the process and am pleased with the results.

One of the designers, Kari Jones (ArtbyJonz), is now illustrating a second book for me and I approached her for the S.M.A.G. badge. This is what she produced. I love it. I hope you do to.

SMAG ccbyncnd

If you would like to display it on your blog, and share it with your blogging friends, I would be honoured for you to do so, but please attribute it to me and link back to this page.

I have found Kari wonderful to work with. She has been very helpful and accommodating and I am delighted with the artwork she has produced for me. If you are looking for illustrations I am happy to recommend Kari. You can check out some of her other work on her ArtPal page and contact her on Facebook if you have any queries.

So thank you, all my friends, for your continued support and readership. Whether or not you choose to post the badge, you are still part of S.M.A.G. and it is a pleasure knowing you.

Thank you

Thank you for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post.

59 thoughts on “S.M.A.G. is here!

  1. Lisa Reiter

    I missed this at the time! A lovely idea and by now you have obviously been blogging for two years. Congratulations! I think we all learn a great deal sharing and daring on-line! Delighted to be SMAG-tastic and I treasure my connections to you but I’m a bit like Geoff in that I’m going badge-free and I hope you won’t mind. Much love Lisa xx

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    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Lisa. Thanks for being part of the SMAG-tastic group even if you don’t want to wear the badge. It is a way of being and interacting, no badge makes or breaks that! You are indeed SMAGful! Hugs! xx

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  2. julespaige

    Really a wonderful idea. If I weren’t a tech’no’ and maybe a tech’yes’ I might take you up on that offer of a badge. I did add a few once with help several years ago… but just like any other language if you don’t use it you lose it. Just knowing that I have been invited brings a smile to my face and warmth to my soul.

    I think I’ve been blogging for about about 4 years plus with WP – maybe even – 2 years before that on a site (for creative writing) which has since folded and maybe a year or to on another specialty type of ‘club’ for books and reading. Mostly because sharing is caring. While my family knows I write, well to them it is more of my hobby, but to me it is more like breathing 😉 Writing, which I’ve been doing since the last year of my elementary school daze. Now I’ve got a grandson starting elementary school!

    I can tell you that I have met some wonderful people. Yes some come and go – especially when WP makes some kind of improvement. 😉 But I’m still doing the ‘free’ site. So I really can’t complain. Thank you again for this fine honor.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you Jules. You are a seasoned blogger! I didn’t even know about blogging four years ago! That’s a great achievement to be going for that long. I can’t believe you describe yourself as a tech no.
      I understand the difference in how others view your writing from how you view it. It is difficult to “make” others understand your feelings and the importance it has to you (speaking from my point of view). I wonder will your grandson love writing as you did. Do any of your children write?
      If you would like to put the badge on your site, let me know and I will send you the steps. It is easy; even a tech no can do it! 🙂

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      1. julespaige

        Though I didn’t know much about his writing, my father wrote some sci-fi. And told great made up fairy tales.

        Even before he could write, I helped my grandson tell his stories. He would draw pictures and I would ask him to tell me about them – I wrote his words, stapled the pages and gave them to ‘Mommy and Daddy (my son). We did several like that when he was under four 😉

        Hubby and children do tech reading and writing. Only did for pleasure in school when they had assignments.

        I started a few years ago doing this thing called AROS… A River Of Stones. You were supposed to write a daily observance for a month… I never stopped. (But I did other writing before and after that, and continue to write something small everyday. – that’s at the Gemstone site which has change ‘flavor’ over the years. Now I’m reinterpreting sentences from a book called Instant Karma. And am up to 177 out of over 8,000 but not all are applicable to me some have a one sided religious leaning and others for different reasons).

        You can attempt to e-mail me the instructions 😉 – I use the computer like a glorified typewriter…. but maybe one of these days I’ll take lessons somewhere. While my family and maybe grandson know more than I do…they don’t have time to show me. *Sigh*. I’ll live. Most of what I know I figured out myself… which is why it frustrates me to no end when WP makes a change. 🙂

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thank you, Jules, for sharing that window into your world.
          My father liked to write too. His prose was mainly memoir, and I guess his poetry probably was as well (mainly war stories). I typed up all his stories and poems for him and compiled them into a book which he shared with some family members. I think much of what he wrote is deserving of a wider audience. One day maybe it will have that. The decision is probably not solely mine, and the timing is not right for a joint decision.
          What a variety of writing you have done too. It’s funny how the bug bites and we have to scratch the itch forever. It never gives up. I wrote an (almost) daily diary for my daughter’s first approximately five years, I think. At various time I kept a diary for myself as well, though not for a while now. At other times I scribbled the outpourings of my soul into numerous notebooks. Now I blog and (try to) write educational materials when I make the time.
          Like you I was scribe for my children’s stories long before they could write for themselves. Sometimes when my grandchildren come over we write stories together too. Mummy and Daddy do the same with them at home. What a wonderful experience it is to share in their imaginings.
          I’ll endeavour to send you the instructions for the S.M.A.G. badge. I’m adding it to the list now! 🙂

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  3. Pingback: The Mystery Of The Missing Laptop And Other Tales From The Summerhouse | A View From My Summerhouse

  4. Sacha Black

    This is awesomeness. Love the post, love the concept, love the badge. does that mean I SMAG this post very much? hehe, it sort of sounds like a rude word? “man that’s smag.” “boy did you smag that up!” – that one reminds me of the TV show red dwarf! – ok I’m waffling. ‘froggers’ made me laugh too! I definitely do a lot of SMAGging of your posts Norah! lol

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    1. Norah Post author

      You do S.M.A.G. my posts and I S.M.A.G. yours! I hate to think of it sounding like a rude word though. It was meant to sound the opposite! 🙂 I hope I didn’t “smag that up”! LOL

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  5. Charli Mills

    I’m so happy to be a part of your S.M.A.G.! Better yet, I appreciate my “froggers” for giving me a tangible purpose as I develop a writing platform; for inspiring my own creativity with theirs; for learning and expanding ideas through writing; and the simple joy of knowing so many talented, upbeat and interesting people. Congratulations for your blogging anniversary and for connecting with a talented designer. Your badge is beautiful and will be displayed over at Carrot Ranch!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you for your beautiful words, Charli. Your description of “froggers” is excellent. Geoff has come back with a suggestion of “froogs”. I was thinking that just Smags might do! But I guess that might be limiting.
      I’m pleased you like the badge and feel honoured that you will display it at the Carrot Ranch. 🙂 Thank you.

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  6. Kari Rocha Jones

    Thank you all for your kind words about the SMAG badge design. I feel honored to have created the badge and it couldn’t be for a lovelier person as Norah. I look forward to following this site…sure hope you don’t mind me tagging along! Kari Jones

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thank you, Kari. It is lovely to welcome you aboard – another S.M.A.G. member is always welcome; and as the badge designer, you have a special place. 🙂

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  7. TanGental

    What a splendid idea and Anne is right we need that name for online friends: ‘a frinternety’? An emate? Netbud? Anyhoo I’m glad we’ve met and shared some moments. The badge and your approach are spot on too. I know you won’t mind but I’m keeping my blog badge free just now – one reason why, dedicated rough rider I maybe I don’t sport Charli’s logo. It’s not because I don’t want to be and remain part of this SMAG.

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks Geoff, you are part of our S.M.A.G. whether you like it or not. (Glad you do like it though!) Having the badge on your blog or not doesn’t change that, and of course you decide. It was really just a bit of lighthearted fun to start off with and it is there for anyone who cares to display it 🙂
      I like that you have suggested some names for online friends. The best I could come up with is “froggers”! We do need a word for referring to our collective. Online friends, as a term, is a bit cumbersome. 🙂

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  8. Sarah Brentyn

    Sweet post, Norah. I have been thinking about this a lot lately and have written a post or two about online “friendships”. What are they, really? And, as you mentioned, people often say “real friends” as opposed to online ones. It’s a strange dynamic to be sure. I haven’t figured it out. Though I’m happy to have met you, on or offline. 🙂

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks Sarah. I am very pleased to have met you too. It is always a pleasure to read your posts, and I especially enjoy hearing about your boys, your parenting tips, and the wonderful ways you incorporate compassion for others into your everyday lives. I very much appreciate it when you visit and comment on my posts, sharing your ideas and extending my thinking. 🙂

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  9. Sherri

    Yay, a S.M.A.G. badge for my blog! I love the design by Kari (and thank you for letting us know what happened with the contest) 🙂 I’ve been wanting to write a post about online friendships for a long time, but with so many things going on I’ve had to put a lot of my blogging posts aside for a long while now, much to my great frustration. But now you’ve given me the perfect opportunity and when I do, I’ll link to this post. I’ve so enjoyed meeting you here Norah, and I do consider you a ‘real’ friend, as I do all my close blogging friends. Thank you so much for sending this beautiful badge our way. I shall display it on my blog with honour and in pride of place 🙂

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    1. Sherri

      PS Yikes…how could I not mention, many congratulations for your upcoming two year blogging anniversary, well done Norah! Here’s to many more blogging years ahead… 🙂

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      1. Norah Post author

        Thanks Sherri. I wasn’t even thinking, when I mentioned it, that it would be congratulated, so I’m bit embarrassed to receive so many wishes. I guess it is an achievement, but I’ve done it just one post at a time! It’s the wonderful S.M.A.G. community that has kept me hanging in there when the self-doubts and motivation-eating gremlins loom large. So thank you for your part in ensuring that I keep on keeping on. 🙂

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        1. Sherri

          That’s the way, one post at a time! You are more than welcome Norah, and I thank you back for the very same reasons: we keep one another going here…after all, we are S.M.A.G 😀

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          1. Norah Post author

            We definitely are and I always appreciate your comments here. I hope your laptop woes are soon sorted so there’s more for me to comment on over there at the Summerhouse. 🙂

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            1. Sherri

              Ahh…thanks so much dear Norah. I am always afraid I will bore everyone with all my ‘issues’. It makes me happy knowing that you’ll be back when there’s more going on at the Summerhouse! The door is always open, even though it’s going to be a bit quiet around here for a little while… 😉

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    2. Norah Post author

      Glad you like the badge, Sherri. Some of our discussions were what stimulated the idea in the first place! I’m excited about seeing it on your blog. 🙂
      I look forward to reading your post about online friendships. Bec linked to an interesting article in her comment. I’m not sure if you saw it.
      It has been wonderful to meet you in this blogging collective Sherri. I always enjoy our conversations (definitely S.M.A.G.) and following your stories on your blog. It is indeed a pleasure knowing you. 🙂
      Thanks for sharing.

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      1. Sherri

        We had some fun conversations about S.M.A.G., I remember! Until my laptop issues are sorted out, I won’t be able to do anything but don’t worry, as soon as it is all sorted, I’m on it! Can you please send me Bec’s link on FB as I would love to read it (trouble loading pages on the internet, but I can access FB from my smartphone app). Thank you so much Norah, and for your lovely reply. You warm my heart greatly. I hope you have a great week ahead 🙂

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        1. Norah Post author

          Thank you Sherri. I hope you have a great week too. I will endeavour to send you Bec’s link on FB, but I’m afraid I’m not much good at FB, yet. 🙂 I hope your laptop woes are soon a thing of the past. 🙂

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          1. Sherri

            Thanks Norah…got it, as you know! Have a lovely weekend (I’m off to spend it with my boys and can’t wait) and will catch up with you next week one way or another. Let’s hope next week brings some results. Hugs 🙂

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  10. Bec

    Congratulations on semi-formalising SMAG! I have certainly appreciated very much being able to experience the growth of this wonderful group of people through your blog.

    Kari’s art is lovely, and it is nice that you’ve found each other to work together.

    And of course here’s the requisite social science article which is kind of related to something you mentioned about online friendships: http://www.psmag.com/books-and-culture/when-online-friendships-are-more-honest-than-offline-ones

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Bec. We are part of a wonderful group, aren’t we? I am very fortunate to have found a place to belong. 🙂
      I’m pleased you like Kari’s work. I am very happy with what she has done for me. She is nudging her way into the group as well, and is very welcome.
      The article is interesting. How do you always have the right article at your fingertips? I was hoping you would have a suggestion for naming our online friendships, though. The dubious “best” I have come up with so far is “froggers”! 🙂

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      1. Bec

        Froggers is cute! I think ‘friends’ is just fine. The internet, social media, and online communications are becoming more integrated into daily life – we might meet someone in person but then foster a friendship with them online. Or perhaps we meet people online, and then the friendship grows through spending time in person. When someone is a friend we don’t define them any more as ‘work friends’ or ‘school friends’ – they are just our friends. I don’t think we need to make people we meet online (or spend most time with online) an ‘other’ as if they’re not part of the real world. I have friends I know in person with whom I only stay in touch over email. Are they online friends? I also have friends I met online, but I generally see now at get togethers or dinners with other people without the screens or internet present. Are they ‘real life’ friends? I used to like introducing my friend Mitch as being ‘from the internet’, because it seemed funny and would embarrass him, but certainly I see him just as my friend who I love and value – but meeting through the internet (a computer game!) just seems like a different place, e.g. meeting someone at uni, at work, or over the back fence.

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        1. Norah Post author

          So true! Thanks for sharing! 🙂
          (Sorry my response is so short in comparison to your comment. I can think of nothing else to add!)
          Friends it is! 🙂

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  11. Annecdotist

    Congratulations, Norah and thanks for the mention. Isn’t it funny how we’ve drifted into blogging and learnt as we’ve gone along. I’ve always enjoyed my connections with you and will display the badge and link back to this post.
    I wish someone would come up with a proper word to identify online versus off-line friends – I think it’s something we all struggle with, maybe that’s inevitable when it’s really a new concept. Hurrah for the Internet!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Yes, Hurrah for the internet indeed! Without it I wouldn’t have met you, and we have been friends/bloggers for a good while now. Should we be ‘froggers’? or ‘Bliends’? I wouln’t mind being froggers. It reminds me of a popular video game from the 80s. :0

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  12. robinettercleave

    Almost two years??!! Wow, Norah – you are so dedicated. I love reading your blog but have to admit to hardly ever commenting, as you know. I write laboriously, writing and rewriting until I get it just right. Argh – it frustrated me. And takes me ages to write what I really mean! So if it’s ok with you, I’ll keep reading your blog and sharing my thoughts with you in our real-life chats during lunch or dinner! xoxo P.S. I love the S.M.A.G. badge – brilliant!!

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    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks Robin. I appreciate your friendship, readership, and comments when you feel so inclined. You are part of my offline S.M.A.G., and my online S.M.A.G.! I look forward to our next catch-up – soon! I’m pleased you like the badge! Thanks. 🙂

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