There is a group of people in community who do not get enough credit and who should. It is our greeters. Now to start with I have been a greeter for about one year and I am not Jonesing for a pat on the back. I am a child greeter compared to our two most prolific greeters who have been at the job literally for years. So don’t throw any compliments my way. I don’t deserve it.
I have however learned a great deal about our community during this year of service. First, I am struck by the incredible diversity of the community. Regular members do not often see it, but when you are a greeter you see the number of people who sign up each day and it is remarkable. This past year I have greeted new members from all over the world. It is not uncommon to see new members from Europe, the Middle East, India, Pakistani, South and Central America and of course Australia and New Zeeland. Along with the typical profile of new members form the United States and Canada. This not even counting the Spanish language site EsTuDiabetes which is our Spanish language site. With the two together I can imagine that the length and breadth of our combined communities reach is beyond what most members realize.
Now in order to welcome new members there are greeters, women and men who day in day out say hello to every new member who joins. They offer direction, friendship and a sense of welcome to each and every new member. On the TUDiabetes site that is nearly 33,000 members and while I could not find the exact number on EsTuDiabetes last I knew there were more than 20,000 members on that site. The literally means more than 100,000 welcome s have been performed since most people get at least two and many get 5 or 6 welcome messages. I know of no other organization that goes out of its way more than ours to help newcomers feel welcome.
Of course then we have the birthday greetings. At least 3 or 4 people each day give Happy Birthday greetings to 20 members. Some of you have never received a birthday greeting and that is one of the draw backs of our platform software NING, It lists the first 20 birthdays, in alphabetical order, and your greeters use that list to say Happy Birthday. I know each of us who use it wish things were different and we could wish most if not every person Happy Birthday each day, but right now we are limited because of software constraints. I say that because I always wondered why some people had their birthday listed and I didn’t. Well now you and I know.
So, who are these greeters? Well they are you. I was hanging around one day and JRTpup (Barbara) said hey do you want to be a greeter? Being a man of incredible insight I said no. Why would I want to work to support our community? Of course Barbara had a way of making sure “no” was really a maybe and once she locked on it was not a matter of yes or no but when. Sure enough she helped me understand the importance of the job and naturally a couple of weeks later I said yes. Since that time, about one year ago, I have been greeting members and giving good wishes on birthdays to members with but a few exceptions. Along the way I have gained so much more than I ever gave and it is not a labor, rather a labor of love. The people I greeted have given me way more than I ever got. I also met the two most unsung heroes of the community. If you have become a member in the last few years, you knew each of them but for this essay it is well worth pointing out their contributions.
First and foremost of course is the main greeter the man who has set the pattern for everyone one else, that is SEAGATOR who has elevated greeting to an art. Likely the first person you met when you came to our site was SEAGATOR and he taught me a lot about the art of greeting. He does it quietly, efficiently almost unseen but when people ask him for direction or help, he is one of the best community resources we have. If you get a chance drop by his page and say thanks, even if you don’t know him, he is your friend.
Trust me no one does more to touch people of this community than SEAGATOR and despite retiring twice this past year, he keeps plugging away, he deserves our great thanks.
Of course there is another great greeter and she and I sort of watch out for each other. Linda never asks for or wants great praise, but she is precise, careful and fun in how she does her job. Chances are if you received a funny picture, a meaningful graphic or a snappy saying when you were greeted, it came from Linda. She is usually the first person who dresses up a new person’s page and she is so insightful in choice of graphic. She must have a library of hundreds of these little gems she leaves on ever new person’s page and birthday greeting. I often laugh at the graphic she has chosen for someone. Her inspiration starts each of my days and I cannot say how much I admire her work enough. If you get the chance stop by and say thank to Linda as well she is an inspiration to me and no I have never been close to her dedication of effort. Linda’s page is located at:
Of course if I were to name each greeter who takes this job so seriously this essay would be six pages long. But remember when someone says Happy Birthday or a new member gets a welcome message, it is not by chance. It is because women and men past and present have had the presence of mind to establish a caring thoughtful community.
So too all the greeters, I say thanks. And to all the folks I have greeted this past year I say again welcome. It is great to have you with us. Saying “hello” is the most natural of things, and it is the one thing that never gets done, if we are not deliberate about it. We owe a debt a gratitude to our greeters, they make the community human and in the process set the tone for what we love most about our little corner of the internet.
PS: We are always looking for new greeters, I am not a good arm twister like Barbara but if you tell one of the admin staff they will get you going. We need you to join us and woudl lvoe to have you I promise if you do it, you will get more our of it then the job requires.