So I just learned about this website, Betterfly, that claims to hook people up with other people who want learn new skills. The idea is: if you want to take piano lessons, or look to cook, or do yoga, you can find someone who does this in your area and matches whatever criteria you use to filter your search. You can sign up either to better yourself or to become a “betterist” of others by offering your particular skills and talents.
I like the idea of a network like this. It’s still in the early stages, so naturally it has its weaknesses: it’s almost useless if you’re not in the States, for example. Hopefully that will change as it grows. Also it seems to allow Betterists to offer their services for play and for work. It’s good that there’s no distinction, but we’ll see if that lasts; I hope hobbyists will be able to find Betterists who are also “small time” (willing to trade etc.) and won’t start encountering ads and marketing sponsored by the professionals who have signed up. It would be dreadful to see the grassroots, personal tone evolve into yet another platform on which the people who are already Web experts can market themselves.
I would love to take piano lessons, and I would love to sing in a choir, and I would love to offer my miscellaneous skills to others as well—but all the Betterists seem to be from New York and Arkansas. So I suppose it will be a matter of waiting for the idea to reach my region, whether or not I decide to sign up (and get the ball rolling?).
Note from the editor: I’m not sure whether I should be capitalizing “betterist”. On the Betterfly website, it’s capitalized AND trademarked. Is that overkill or enthusiasm? There is a linguistic term for words that began as brand names or proper nouns and have gradually become generic, to the extent that capitalization is no longer required (such as “kleenex” and “q-tip”)—but I forget what it is. Drat! Looks like I need to do a little professional development myself—a little bettering of my skill set.
Go on, you too: better yourself! Why not? It’s free! And we all know that if something is free, then it’s totally worth it.