Connecting the dots

As I am typing this posting, I am watching the member list on Massageprofessionals.com, a social network for massage and bodywork professionals, steadily rise like the July temperatures (now at 700+ members and counting). This after ABMP just formally launched the site less than 24 hours ago. We are pleased and gratified by the early interest. We at ABMP began discussing the idea of establishing a social network for the massage and bodywork community four months ago, as we saw the presence of Facebook grow throughout our culture, and tap into a need for identification and community. An objective of mine since becoming president of ABMP has been to give greater opportunities for our members to communicate and connect with each other. When we considered the idea of creating a network, it took us about 10 seconds to realize that it could not and should not be about ABMP. Growing as a profession, whether on an individual or macro level, is about all of us in the profession. As we told our members last week in a communication, we have always and will always work like crazy to earn and retain their loyalty. But we also feel strongly that creating a community is not about building up barriers, but rather eliminating them. I received my massage training in 2004, after working at ABMP for nearly 10 years. I went to school to gain greater understanding and appreciation for this profession, and to be better able to serve and represent it. When I graduated, I did so with a newfound respect for the work being done and the people doing it. In addition, I gained many insights that have helped me since. A fundamental one is the solitary nature of the work. In many ways that is the attraction, but like all strengths, it can also be a weakness. From that point on, I wanted to figure out a way to help practitioners connect with each other as a support system. I am hopeful this new network can help do that. But it is just a start. None of us are well served by being slaves to monitors and keyboards; my hope is that starting this community leads to cookouts and card games, roundtables and coffee breaks. Life is lived offline. Our community is deserving of its collective positive energy; here’s to sharing that amongst ourselves in new and fulfilling ways. So you’ll read that Massageprofessionals.com is “Powered by ABMP"; that’s just our way of letting you know how important this is to us. This is your party; we just rented the hall.
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