I discovered Harold J. Johnson’s podcast “Something That Happened” in late 2004. It was one of the first podcasts I subscribed to, and that makes it one of the first podcasts, period — an absolute gem apparently overlooked in the history of podcasting. To me, it was the epitome of what podcasting could be: deeply personal, utterly engrossing and completely engaging audio. Each episode of “Something That Happened” was a start-to-finish driveway moment. Unfortunately, many of those early episodes appear to be lost, but for me, their impact remains.

Harold and I met in person briefly on the floor of the very first Podcast Expo in Ontario, California, about a year later. If I recall correctly, the guy had ridden a bus — no doubt several buses – to get to that first international gathering of new media creators. We chatted for a bit, exchanged business cards (mine were freebies from Instaprint, his were printed from Avery cardstock — DIY gets it done, yo!) and parted company. Of course, as is the Way of the Internet, we’ve remained in touch through the various social networks as they rise and fall.

Last month, my girlfriend was ego-surfing me (because she loves me!) and found this:

Now, as nice as it is that Harold is buying “Brave Men Run – A Novel of the Sovereign Era” and other e-books I wrote (or edited / released), what’s truly touching is what he said about our friendship, and the idea that supporting my work is an extension of that friendship. This video gives me a little hitch in my throat, I tell you what. Thanks, Harold, truly.

A Reminder For Authors and Other Creatives

If there’s a difference between the person you are to your friends and the person you are to your fans, you will miss opportunities to have more of both. That simple law is at the core of personal branding, platform building, or whatever phrase is in vogue when I write, or you read, this.

Be human. That’s it!

Your Own Examples

Authors and other creative people, please share your own stories of the blurring line between friends and fans in the comments!