DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS

DOWN TO EARTH SIMPLE LIVING FORUMS
I have a forum attached to my blog where people from all over the world meet to discuss simple life. There are about 7000 forum members now so we have an enormous amount of good information about growing food, cooking from scratch, family, simple living, routines, budgeting, baking and much more. Please click on the image above to go there. Newcomers will have to register. It's free, friendly and we're waiting for you.

30 October 2013

The internet - the good, the bad and the ugly


I think many of you would agree when I say that there are things on the internet that we don't want our kids or grandkids to see. I don't want to see them either. In certain areas of the internet, there are people waiting in chat rooms looking for children, waiting for adults to befriend so they can steal their hearts and dollars, and in many areas, including the general news sites, chat rooms and forums, there are bullies who hide their real ugliness under the cover of anonymity. There is no doubt about it, the internet can drain the strength from your bones and make you want to give up on humanity.

On the other hand, there is the opportunity to reach out and connect with like-minded souls. We can form lasting friendships, learn from each other's cultures, teach ourselves to knit, sew, mend, recycle, keep livestock, cook, make jam and to preserve it, to grow a garden and produce food for our tables and so many other things. The internet makes all that possible. I like to believe that for every bit of nonsensical behaviour that takes place over the internet, there will be a corresponding act of kindness, gratitude and sharing to balance it out. I can't imagine how many lonely people, who would otherwise not be able to get out, have their social time on the internet - in forums, chat rooms, clubs and craft groups. How many young cooks have started cooking by searching for recipes on the web; how many home work questions have been answered; how proud do we feel when we upload a photo of something we've created, be it a garden, dress, cardigan, cake, cheese or even a newly born baby. For on the internet, yes, there is the unspeakable and the ruthless but there is also a big group of people, just like you and me, who come to their keyboards every day and yell out into the ether: "I'm here! Are you there?" 

And we find each other.

One of the best features of the internet for me is that it makes government and big business more accountable. Pre-internet, there was no way ordinary people could take part in discussions about world politics, finance, society, the arts, politics, corruption or any of the seemingly "important" subjects. Now we can easily comment on news stories, send vision and reports into news groups, or blog about our own experiences and concerns. We've all heard stories about rogue politicians closing down radical or citizen-run newspapers and media outlets but so far, no government has been able to shut down the internet. And that is probably because the internet doesn't belong to anyone and it's not controlled in a formal sense. It belongs to us all.

I think personal responsibility is as important and significant as political ideology. We all have the ability to see what is happening around us, to make decisions based on that knowledge and by taking small steps, change our lives. I have moved away from my consumerist culture to a more solitary life focused on home and on sharing what I know with those who are interested. The internet has given me that opportunity, not only to reach you, but to also reach Penguin publishing and many other media organisations who have helped me spread my message. But mostly I am thankful that I have this community here who support and encourage each other, who learn and teach, and who sit silently reading while never raising their own flag to say "I'm here too." Like every other healthy community, it takes all types, and I love that. I love the fact that while there are other older women here who mirror me in many respects, there are also men and younger folk, and those who are middle aged. What we have here is a carbon copy of what we find in any vibrant community - we have women and men, straight and gay, religions of all denominations and those who are atheist, rich and poor, healthy and ill. We have people here from many cultures and philosophies. There is no one type you can say is typical or acceptable here, we all are.

I have always been amazed at the number of people who read here. I put that down to consistency, my respect for you and the interesting community that has built up around the blog. Overnight we passed the eight million visitors mark. Those people have read over 12.5 million pages here.

Thank you for finding your way here today and all the other times you walked this way. I don't need the validation because I know the way I'm living now is right for me, my family and for the piece of earth we look after. But even though I'm not looking for validation, I am looking for conversation, friendship and the exchange of ideas, and here, my friends, we have that in abundance. Thank you for helping to provide that and for adding to the always thought-provoking conversation. xx

34 comments:

  1. How true!! Have found so many likeminded people online....my people, my community...although we will never meet...

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  2. I love this post. It basically says what I think. Despite the ugliness that can happen with this medium, so many wonderful things can happen too. I love that there is a classroom in my house where I can learn so much about gardening, cooking, homemaking, philosophy, sewing, natural remedies, the list could go on and on. I love that I get to see so many cultures and connect with different people and see what they think about different subjects. I know that it is important to be involved in our local communities, but the online communities are so wonderful. They can help uplift you cheer you on and help you know that you are not the only one who thinks they way you do. It helps us know that people all over the world have the same concern and enthusiasm that we do.

    As always thanks for your posts, they help inspire.

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  3. I don't often comment, but I love reading what you have here. Thanks for being here. Such good information and food for thought!

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  4. Great post and thank you for being one of my inspirations to live the life that I want for myself and my family. Without the internet I wouldn't know how to do many of the things I do like, crochet, knitting, sewing, gardening and even cooking and cutting my own hair, and also finding advice or other peoples experiences. I am a SAHM with two young children so it is not always easy for me to get out there and find the right people for me - people who have the same interests, but on the net I can find them straight away all over the world through blogs and forums. I love visiting your blog it just lifts my spirit and makes me know that I can do this! Thank you :) Have a great day.

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  5. What a wonderful achievement! I think the internet can be a great leveler. As with any type of education, and access to information, individuals can succeed despite their socio/economic background and that's exactly the way it should be. I've lived oversea in a country that filtered the internet and it was shocking the type of information that simply wasn't available to its citizens (e.g. HIV/AIDS, political massacres, industrial pollution, women's rights etc). Otherwise highly educated people were completely ignorant of these important issues. I am so grateful we can access this type of information here but I do worry every time our Government raises the issue of an internet filter (who watches the watchers etc) and despair that failing to extend the NBN to the home will greatly disadvantage those in remote and poorer communities. But enough politics! Congratulations again on a great achievement. I for one am very glad I've discovered this little corner of the internet and the wonderful friendships it has offered me.

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  6. Spot on, Rhonda. Thanks for being one bright light on the web that so many people have gathered around to share, learn, grow, and commune with each other.

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  7. A round of applause from me. I always think of coming here as "popping over to Rhonda's".

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  8. Awesome post you are so right, despite some of the ugliness of the internet there is so much inspiration out there, including you. I am housebound due to RA, blogging has inspired to have a veg garden with the help of a few friends, take up my art and given me a link to the outside world, I have found wonderful friendships with people in Australia, Canada and Britain through my blogs. Your blog has inspired me follow the simple life. I made my first dishcloth a few weeks ago and have got hooked on crochet and doing a grannie blanket with the instructions from the UTube. The internet has been a lifesaver for me. We dont have to visit the ugly sites and if trolls play havoc, we can close our site down site down and disable anonymous comments.

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  9. A great post that is so timely..You do a great job and that is what keeps all of us visiting.. Just plain down home stuff.. Love it..

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  10. Thanks for sharing.Love from the netherlands

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  11. Hi Ronda and all at the DTE blog and forum....I am one of those that don't comment very often but I visit here every day and love the 'niceness' of this site, the information and the feeling of "connection"...I fact it is the first place I go each weekday with my cup of tea first thing in the morning and miss it when it is not there. Thank you for your commitment to all of us that follow you. My husband and I will embark on living on the road in our van fri. Next year and hope to write a blog...am trying to set it up now using the information you provided. So one day, maybe you will visit me to see where I am in our very simple life. Like Rose said....I like popping over to Ronda's place.

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  12. Rhonda, I found your post today was quite timely as I was reading a cooking blog last night and the blog owner had made some pumpkin fudge which she said some people could use if they celebrated Halloween which she doesn't as she finds it too macabre and she had some links to comments people had made about Aussies celebrating Halloween and I couldn't believe the vindictive comments that were made after someone said it wasn't Australian and why should we be celebrating it. People can be so very nasty and I actually find their comments quite distressing to read.

    I personally have only had 'nice' people commenting on my blog and I can imagine how you feel when you get nasty comments sometimes. Hopefully the 'nice' ones outnumber the 'nasty' ones though. Your blog is always inspirational and you are able to put into words what many of us would like to say. You are a really gifted writer!

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  13. I don't usually comment, but I DO look forward to visiting your blog most every day. Thanks for sharing your insights into the simple way of life....you are an inspiration and wealth of information.

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  14. This post resonates with me today. I commented earlier today on a farming blog that the blog was a great, informative resource to me. It is true of your blog also... and I "know" more people online that share my interests and values than I do in real life. I wish I lived in a community of like minded, self-relaint, homesteaders... but since I do not, I am grateful to connect via the internet.

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  15. How true. Perhaps the old saying is true, the world is a mirror of our mind and soul, and the internet is a brilliant example of it - you can choose to learn, inform and seek out a like-minded community, and thankfully this is growing every day. There are so many blogs on organic gardening, homesteading, good cooking, living simply, crafts, preserving, spirituality, and so on. The world is truly full of goodness. Thank you Rhonda for all your time and sharing so many uplifting and useful stories. Monica

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  16. And we thankyou for being there almost every day of the week for us, for our daily dose of inspiration and internet friendship.

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  17. Actual I fine more good on the net. If I need to research any subject good, bad or ugly. It at my finger tips then I can make a decision.
    Sure I like minded people but still I need view other who may see the world in different light. It makes me a better person. Sticking your head in the ground don't take care of some of our world troubles.

    Coffee is on

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  18. I also get my weekday fix of Rhonda's good common sense. When the world out there get so busy, full of stress and sometimes just plain "yukky", i switch on my PC and check with my girls (Oh and Gav) and know that there are good people out there. Visiting Rhonda is like visiting with Mum. Never any judgement just good conversation, lots of helpful advice and great tips for making life just that little bit easier and interesting.

    Thanks Rhonda. 8 Million is really awe inspiring. That's 8 million smiles!!!

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  19. Wow Rhonda 8 million, how it must make your heart sing to know you have inspired, effected and changed so many people all over the world.
    Your post is so true, there really is the good, the bad and the ugly. I, thankfully, have only had mostly good experiences. I'd like to share a couple.
    6 years ago I was struggling with my weight and was a new mum struggling to make sense of this thing called motherhood. I joined a forum on the weight watchers message boards and 6 years later I am still friends with the 10 women I met online. We have all met in person and come from all over Australia and New Zealand. We now have moved away from that forum and have a closed group on facebook where we chat most days. They are some of my closest friends and I thank god I found them!
    Another is your blog, I found it when I was at home, ill, bored and lost. Your blog has inspired me to search out this simpler life, start my own blog and really for the first time, find my groove with life and feel like I am truly happy and content with my lot, so thank you for being a light in so many ways.

    Warm regards,
    Jan

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  20. The internet frightens me when it comes to my kids. Despite all the checks and balances we put in place it is incredible how much they know for their ages. A lot of it comes from Social Media, some of it good information and some not. At least once a week I am seeking clarification from them regarding a latest trend or terminology. They translate the lingo for me. I think I was a child for quite a bit longer than them, without so much social pressure.
    I too enjoy coming over to Rhonda's place to visit. Thanks for introducing me to this lifestyle and for sharing yours,
    Cheers
    Tanya

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  21. I seldom comment your post, but I love reading it. Thank you for being here,

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  22. What a brilliant post. I think that the media focus too much on the dark side of the internet and paint it to be an instrument of evil. The truth, as you quite rightly pointed out, is the opposite. Without it many people would feel isolated.

    How wonderful it is to find like minded people. Even though they may live on the other side of the world, the power of the Internet brings them directly into our homes and it feels like they live just around the corner. Personally, I've made new friendships worldwide and locally. I think more should be done to promote the good side but as in real life, sadly, it's only bad news that sells.

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  23. 8 million.....congratulations. I love reading your blog and have learned so much from you. Thank you .

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  24. What a truthful post, and I am so glad you are out there enhancing my life with your wisdom, skill and humanity. 8 million visits to your blog! That really is wonderful, especially for each and every one of us visitors. God Bless Rhonda.

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  25. Your respect and gentle way of writing about a simple life makes this space always feel warm and welcoming. You inspire me, and obviously a good deal many more people. This is a wonderful example of all that is good that is on the internet. Thanks for being here!

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  26. Ah Rhonda, you've said it all. Your posts are always thought provoking, and this one in particular resonates (great word!) with so many of us here for different reasons. In the 12 years I've been connected to the Internet, I can honestly say I have not have any really bad experiences, but I put that down to the sites that I visit - mostly health, sewing and craft websites and blogs.
    I have no children, but if I did, I would do anything to stop them going on Facebook. I think that is one of the most dangerous and evil 'social networking' sites on the net; so many people have come to harm through it. Some of our friends and family are always asking us to go on it to keep in touch with them, but as my hubby says, you can keep in touch with us by phone, letters or email. Take it or leave it!

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  27. Thank you for sharing your life with us, your writing is an inspiration and a joy. And you are right, the internet bullies lurk everywhere, but I believe there are many more good hearted and generous people that we'd never get to meet any other way. I know it can be tough to ignore them at times, I see them stalking my blogs. I am getting used to their uninvited presence. In time, when they realize I'm not going to give them what they want, maybe they will give up. Till then, I will look upon them merely as weeds in my flower garden.

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  28. Wow, 8 million visitors, that's a fantastic achievement. I'm relatively new to the DTE community, but I love coming here each day to hear what Rhonda has to say. Like many others here, it's been so helpful for me to find that I am not alone in wanting to live a more simple, sustainable life. You are an inspiration, Rhonda!

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  29. Congratulations on the eight million mark! As a fairly new blogger, I can't imagine reaching that number of views! I'm glad that the negative comments have not slowed you down or given you pause about the content of your posts. If we censor ourselves out of fear of the naysayers, then we let them win. Thanks for being such a great blogging role model!
    All the best,
    Sue

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  30. Thank you Rhonda. I love your blog and the wonderful posts you write. On too 8 million more. ♥
    Cheryl Harper

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  31. And I agree with the others ... congratulations. I love coming to your "place" to learn and be inspired. Thank you. At the end of August you wrote several articles on the values of homemaking. I have re-read those a few times to remind myself that keeping a home well is truly an art. I keep a home for one -- well, two -- I have a big floppy dog. I'm a widow -- but it's still important for me to do all the things that make my home inviting and keep my life vibrant and simple. And I also teach classes for young women in some of the old fashioned skills that we take for granted: canning, sewing a hem, baking bread, and making soup from leftovers. Thank you again for all the things you have shared ... and blessings on all the work of your hands.

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  32. As a former volunteer Lifeline telephone counsellor for several years I have spoken with many people from all walks of life, often in the wee hours of the morning when the world is asleep. Over time I noticed one particular thing that kept coming up. Validation. I truly believe that all people on some level seek validation. I know I do. When genuinely offered or received, it's a wonderful thing.

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  33. When life in all its diversity is said and done, we all go HOME to the place that welcomes us no matter what. I love that you focus on that home and all the ways we can make it better. Thank you, Rhonda, for sharing all your gifts with us...

    Blessings,
    Dianne
    www.sweetjourneyhome.

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Thank you for your comment today. I love reading your opinions and thoughts. We have built up a wonderfully diverse community here that I'm very proud to be a part of.

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