Dispelling the notion that virtual friendships are not real, sixty fans of The Critter Room kitten cam are gathering this weekend at Purrfect Pals in Arlington, WA to meet for the first time. Many were local but some came from as far away as Boston and even Australia. They organized the first annual Kitten Cam Con.
Having been a part of close virtual communities in the past (associated with my music), I can tell you that meeting people you have been corresponding with online is akin to meeting someone famous. There’s that moment of awkwardness when the veil of technology is lifted and you can actually look at, speak with, and hug, that dear friend you have been confiding in for so long. The level of intimacy changes and you are now pressing the flesh. It’s an exhilarating feeling.
I imagine there was a lot of squealing with glee, tears, laughter and hugs as these sixty representatives of the over forty thousand that follow The Critter Room fulfilled their dream of meeting their friends.
Virtual friendships are not new. Before chat rooms and emails there was letter writing. How many of us had pen pals from far away as kids? I had a German pen pal, one from a neighboring state and another from Hawaii. I only got to see the Hawaiian friend and each time it was glorious moving from the written word to hugs and kisses.
I commend and envy all of you at the Kitten Cam Con and am with you in spirit. I hope someday I can meet some of you.
The Average Joe Cat Show (where you can vote for your favorite cat online for a small donation) is taking place at Purrfect Pals as well. These are certainly innovative folks! No wonder they haven’t had to buy any kitten food the last two years (as stated by the executive director of Purrfect Pals).
This is the power of community. Kudos!
The local press took notice of the event and posted two wonderful articles about the Kitten Cam Con and all the wonderful work done by Foster Dad John. If you can’t be there, these are the next best thing:
Bothell kitten cam goes viral, watchers gather for own convention – The Seattle Times
Popular kitty cam launches a cat convention – KOMO News – you can watch the telecast and read the article
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