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How Patch Can Help Us All Be Friends

Here's why a Patch site is a little like online dating — and why everyone should create a profile.

There is so much news to catch up on.

Why should you create a Patch profile, especially when you already have so many other profiles out there to manage? 

While it can often take up a whole morning or lunch break or evening to catch up on your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and whatever other social networking sites you have signed up for, there is one more you should make time for. 

Patch, the online community site, has been around for one year and has become my go-to source for local news and events. By signing up, they send you an update on the important stuff every morning.  You have to really dig through the other sites to get updates (and did you really want to know that someone is planting carrots in Farmville?) 

I have learned so much about my town and surrounding towns through their Patches.  When people move to a new town, how do they learn about it?  Typically through word of mouth, a city website (which we have a good one), newspaper, exploration or maybe a library bulletin board.  The Patch concept has become such a useful tool for this.  Maybe you want to learn about the history of your town or who has the best pizza or what is happening this weekend? 

Why Patch?

First of all, I'm not a paid advocate for Patch. I'm just a blogger who enjoys his town and making new friends as well as exploring the area and sharing it with others.

So, why Patch?

Making new friends. 

This can be a difficult thing to do in adulthood.  Most of us have a pretty good group of friends from grade school, college, work, church, neighbors, etc.  But what happens when friends move away or we move to a new town or friends get married and have kids?  We often find ourselves isolated in some way or another and it is hard to make new friends with similar interests.  As a kid it is simple:  you meet on the playground and you have G.I. Joe or Barbie in common and you are best friends. 

As we get older our interests get a little more complex.  Take a look at your Facebook friends: Family, coworkers, old friends, people you were never really friends with but went to high school with.  Do you ever browse Facebook for new friends?  I didn't think so.  

Facebook is handy if you meet someone new; you look up their name and you can find them and become Facebook friends.  How would you go about searching for new friends in your area, though? 

Patch is great because you know the people there are local, and if they have filled in their profile or made comments, you might learn that they have similar interests.  It might be fun to meet up during one of the many festivals, or go for a bike ride or meet them for dinner at a restaurant you have wanted to try — just like in the old days when people used to know their neighbors!

Making new friends can be awkward

Comfort zones can be hard to step out of. We are comfortable with our old friends and our routines.  You might think everyone else is weird and you are the only normal couple around or just the opposite: we are the weird couple and everyone else is too normal!  How do you reach out and make new friends? 

My wife has no problem with talking to strangers and makes a lot of new friends.  I on the other hand am usually shy and not one to start a conversation with a stranger.  That is how we compliment each other.  That is also why we met online.

The internet is a great tool for meeting new people.  Unlike the loud bar or the coffee shop, where everyone is plugged into some kind of technology, the internet can be an easy, safe way to meet new people.  Chances are, if they are on a safe community-minded site like Patch, they are going to be decent people. 

Get out and meet your neighbors

Rochester is such a great town to live in.  Most of us moved here because of the location, the parks and trails, the many festivals, the shopping or the walkable lifestyle. 

Chances are you have something in common with your neighbors.  Since you aren't going to go knocking door-to-door, why not sign up for Patch?  You'll learn all about your town and what goes on in it.  You can even voice your opinions or report local news tips and, maybe in the process, you might make new friends with people who live just around the corner.

To create a profile on Patch, first sign in with an email address, then click on your name; you can upload  a photo and enter information about yourself in the "edit profile" area.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Kayce Gifford November 01, 2011 at 09:44 PM
: )
Brian Farnham November 15, 2011 at 03:34 AM
David, as the Editor-in-Chief of Patch in New York, i'm not local to Rochester. But I can tell you this: if I was, I'd find your blog VERY helpful. You get us!! ;-) Thanks for contributing. B
Randy Buckman November 22, 2011 at 02:15 PM
Completely agree David! Nice blog.

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