So the end of this coming February 2013 is two years into this Vaping Experience for me. A lot has happened in this industry in that two years…I’ve seen vaunted and valued devices kicked aside for New Stuff time and time again. I’ve seen improvements, side-steps and regressions; studies, claims and propaganda. But what I’ve really noticed, and what has been very helpful to me, is the Community of Vapers.
Before making the switch, I was into MYO tobacco for many, many years. The world of tobacco is so much more than just grabbing a pack of chokes from the 7-11 (and how many of us ever attended a cigarette meet or a SmokeCon gathering? 🙂 But I’m drifting off on a tangent here)…. The MYO tobacco world is a universe of different types, tastes, curing methods, toppings, casing and flavorings — and all kinds of ways to smoke the stuff, whether it be roll ups, using manual injectors, electric injectors…. MYO is a community of like-minded souls looking out for one another, spotting trends, trying new things and generally Being There with knowledge, expertise and wisdom. We could swap stories, addresses of tobacconists and growers, how-tos, and generally get together as a big ol’ family to share and have some fun. I met people from all over the world, sometimes in person, sometimes at parties and almost always on-line.
That’s what I was afraid I’d miss when I decided that I liked vaping and that it was something I was going to pursue.
The vaping universe looks pretty big right now, and it is. Two years ago that wasn’t quite the case. Oh, there were already a couple of big forums to visit, but it wasn’t anything like the MYO world or what the vaping community is now. I was pretty much on my own when I decided to move up from the Blu disposables that first got me started on this thing. But luckily that began to change.
And that was big for me. Suddenly I was no longer a part of the MYO Community; well, I still have many dear and close friends who are a part of MYO but who will always be my friends — but for the most part I don’t live in that world any longer. It was kind of a shock at first; there were few people to tun to for advise or encouragement. I’m happy that has changed.
In a way it was cool to grow along with the vaping community at large; while the MYO community was long-established, as vapers we were all figuring this out together and stumbling along as best we could. That has begun to coalesce greatly the past few months with vaping-related internet radio and TV shows as well as many and varied forums and specialty sites. Trade organizations and advocacy groups have sprung up as well as standard bodies for juices and equipment.
It’s always so much easier to deal with the New and Unknown when you’re not the Lone Ranger. From a social standpoint, it’s always more fun to have a group of people you can enjoy being with who share what you’re doing and have the same goals. I’m happy to have come from one community to another and made new friends, experienced new things and had help as well as having helped. And as the culture and experience of e-cigarettes come under attack from irrational, misguided people who claim to have Our Best Interests at heart, that sense of community is going to become more important. Not just to help each other with tips and tricks, but to help each other survive the onslaught of fear-mongering and misinformation — and to spread the truth as we know it about our lifestyle choice.
We can’t take that for granted…nor can we take for granted communities like ECA. It’s who we are now. And I’m glad we’re all a part of it.