Did you ever wonder who does all the cool stuff on the Internet that makes it so much fun? I do.

I know a few names. Daniel Arenson, the author of a fantasy novel called FIREFLY ISLAND, helps other Five Star authors by posting their info on the MySpace Five Star site, with a cool revolving thingie that shows each author's latest cover every few minutes. Now I could never do that in a million years (well, maybe I could, but it's kind of like the monkeys with the typewriter thing).

I'm on several forum sites where patient and dedicated people monitor and assist. One, named Ivan, is so helpful with clueless internet newbies that I wonder if he should be nominated for sainthood (although I'm pretty sure he's not Catholic). Jeff Marks (Murder Must Advertise) gives great advice and maintains a site of particular value to authors looking to navigate the minefield of marketing crime fiction.

Generally, the Net is stuffed with items of interest that make me wonder "Who went to all the trouble of putting that here?" Song lyrics, book reviews, articles, and helpful links are there for the (careful) surfer to use with no thought to how much work it was to provide such goodies.

Even locally, I find that people with tech-type knowledge are more than willing to give advice (if I can understand it) or even do the work themselves when I'm really stuck.

So where does it come from, this willingness to lend expertise to the ignorant? It could be the rush a person gets from knowing more about a topic than most. It could be the desire to get your name out there, have it remembered, and develop a network. It could just be the thrill some people get from making the computer do cool things and throwing them out there for all to see.

But there has to be more. I think it's that ancient trait, helpfulness. We don't see much of our neighbors these days, and we may not even see much of extended family. But these people can help others, people they will never meet or even speak to on the phone. Daniel Arenson will never change a tire for me on the freeway or loan me a cup of sugar. But neighborly behavior is alive and active, just on a whole different level.

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