Facebook has long been a way for friends and family to connect and stay in touch. I was really impressed with one fan group that was created prior to CMA Fest. It was called “CMA Fest 2012.” It was started by Jane Britian and was a closed group. I like the fact that it was small because it was managable and it was easier for fans to communicate with each other and develop friendships within the groups. It’s hard to do that with thousands of people in a group. Being a closed group, it allows the group’s moderators to be selective about who joins. It works, too, because everyone who posts in the group is off topic. There’s no spam, no off-topic comments polluting the group. It’s very nice.
There are people in the group from various places in the World – United States, Canada, England, Norway, Netherlands, among other places. I really enjoyed being a part of this group because it was so helpful and the people were so friendly. Many of the people who were in the group go every year and were able to help some of the first-time festival-goers and help relieve their stress about going. I tried to offer my input and lessons I’ve learned from past CMA Fest experiences as often as possible to help others.
This was easily the most active group of which I have been a part. Any time there was a question, a person could post it in the group and it would be answered almost immediately in most cases. It’s through those conversations that friendships were formed. Like many internet friendships, the people in the group wanted to meet in person. Many of the members met at Joe’s Crab Shack in downtown Nashville. Some of the members considered this to be one of their favorite things they did throughout the CMA Music Festival.
I found the group to be very helpful throughout the group as well. People would post pictures, and discuss where they were going and various events going on. Since the end of the CMA Music Festival, members have shared photos and memories. Not wanting the group to end with the end of the festival, the name of group was changed to “CMA Friends Group 2013.” Members of the group are already talking about planning for the 2013 CMA Fest.
Over the last month, members of this group have grown from online chat pals to real-life friends. The power of technology is amazing. Through Facebook, a lot of people with a common interest (CMA Music Fest) from different places in the world were able to come together and forge real friendships. Even the first-timers didn’t feel like they were alone with this group. I’m glad the group is going to continue.