This is a bit of an introspective post about my own interaction with social, online and gaming communities.
I have always been fairly anti-social, and aside from a small group of close-knit friends I have never felt comfortable in social situations.
Since getting married and now the birth of my gorgeous baby girl I have become even more reclusive, and I think I need to kick myself into gear and do something about it.
Since I do have a bit of a problem with social interaction however, just getting out and meeting new people isn't really my thing, so I am thinking of expanding my online presence somewhat, which is just a little bit easier.
At a professional level I have started doing this a bit, with an increase in my Twitter and LinkedIn presence, and a marked increase in blogging. I would like to become more involved in PerthDotNet but as my wife works part time retail, Thursdays are out of the question for any sort of meet up.
The other area that I am thinking of using to increase my social interaction is through gaming communities. I have always been an MMO whore, from UO, EQ and DAOC in the early days, to SW:G, WoW, EQ2, DAOC, W:AR, and Eve Online more recently (yep, DAOC is there twice, i've been back to that game more than any other). Ironically though, despite being "MMO" games I have only ever had very limited interaction with the gaming community, with the majority of my time spent solo, or in the company of my RL friends. On the opposite scale, a close friend who has always suffered from social anxiety far worse than I ever did was really dedicated to the community in the MMOs we played.
The Eve community on Ars Technica was really the first time I had ever really tried to be part of a gaming community on my own. Unfortunately playing Eve with limited time commitments is an effort in futility, especially in a large 0.0 guild in a low population timezone. Whether I try and become more involved in Eve or pick up a new game such as SW:TOR, I really need to try and become a functional member of a community in the game otherwise I will end up continuing to be a hermit and end up back to where I am now.
Hopefully being part of both a professional and gaming community will help improve my communication and organisation skills, but mostly will get me back into interacting with people and becoming less of a hermit.
p.s. personal blogging is much harder than technical blogging...