Australian flag On this Australia Day 2008 it’s great, as a blogger, to see that a dedicated group of volunteers has launched successfully the Aussie Bloggers Forum.

Back in the last century, or to be a bit more precise the mid 1990s, I enjoyed hanging out with a disparate bunch Australians, New Zealanders, Americans and others on the CompuServe Pacific Forum, or PACFORUM. That was really my introduction to living online – and I loved it. For us antipodeans it was not like today’s “always on” forums and other online environments. The cost of online time was pretty steep then, and while the Americans chatted in real time, those of us in the Antipodes used special applications like TAPCIS to go online, download all the latest messages as fast as possible, read and reply online then upload our responses and commentaries.

And it wasn’t all just online chat. I remember clearly one time when I was having a problem with some configuration of the system and about half an hour later another couple of then Sydneysiders were in my office to help me set it up, the always generous of spirit Irish recruiting headhunter Harry O’Neill, now the Republic of Ireland’s Honorary Consul in Hong Kong, and entrepreneur/pilot the late Tom Milledge. We then went out for coffee and offline real time chat. That day sticks in my mind as a wonderful demonstration that the “online” and “real world” are not disjunctive.

Then there were PACFORUM regulars Jan and Josh from LA, who met online, decided to get married in Sydney, found they needed witnesses and got them from PACFORUM.

And we have had great dinners with PACFORUM buddies in Los Angeles and New York, and stayed in Vermont with another Compuserve legend, Margo Pinkerton, “The Barefoot Contessa” and her husband Arnie (check out their amazing photographic adventures program).

I digress.

The idea of this post was to talk about the new Aussie Bloggers Forum. But I hope I’ve been able to illustrate that what looks like just a gathering place for Aussies can open amazing possibilities for connections not just with other Australians but with interesting people in other countries too.

From the blurb on the home page of the Aussie Bloggers Forum and from what I’ve observed so far in the various discussions, there does seem to be a strong commitment to have the kind of friendly, open, and international, chatty space I was privileged to experience on Aussie Bloggers Forum badgePACFORUM.

At Aussie Bloggers, we are passionate about blogging and helping other Aussies do the same. But you don’t have to be an Aussie to join the forums, all nationalities are welcome here. If you are interested in blogging at all then join us in the forums today. Unlike other forums out there on the web, questions are welcome and you will find lots of friendly Aussies willing to help. Helping out mates is part of the Aussie way, after all.

One aim we have for this forum is to gather a range of Aussie bloggers who have skills over different blogging platforms and social media sites to help provide information and advice to other Aussies who are not as experienced. Let’s face it, the blogosphere is a really big place! We’ve enjoyed connecting with other Aussie bloggers and the friendships we’ve formed.

We hope these forums will make meeting other Aussie bloggers much easier. We want this to be a happy, helpful place where advice and networking occurs in an non threatening and collaborative environment. Nastiness won’t be tolerated.

You can join the forum here.

Then a few days ago we saw the launch of the new Aussie Bloggers blog site. Some very nice photos there for Australia Day.

Australian flag image, courtesy csp

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Des Walsh is an executive coach. He helps business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide deal effectively with the feeling of being left behind or overwhelmed, or both, about social media – especially LinkedIn - and how to engage safely and effectively with social media to help grow their business. Connect with Des on LinkedIn, Google+ and Twitter. And to stay in the loop, get Des’s weekly Social Business Bites (select snippets of his "best of the week" online finds).