See that group of lovely ladies in the picture above? This is one of the reasons I love social media. Many of those women in the photo I hadn’t seen in over 30 years! We all went to school together at one time or another and all of us but one attended the same private school that ended in 8th grade. This reunion most likely wouldn’t have happened if there wasn’t social media.
I know that social media has its bad side. I wrote about my dislike for it in regards to my kids in part one of this post. I have seen adults act like idiots on social media. I’ve seen families fight on Facebook airing their dirty laundry for everyone to see. I’ve seen people make negative comments to strangers that I’m sure they would never share if they were face to face with the person. I’ve see all that. Social Media is just another thing that can distract us from the “real world”. I am guilty of of that one for sure. But I also see the great side of social media. Connection.
I am confident the initial goal of the creation of social media was to get people connecting. Humans crave connection -well most of us do. Create a community where people can connect – then get advertisers to buy ads there ( there has to a monetary upside – someone has to pay for it!). Brilliant!
I have been on Facebook for over 5 years and I have seen it grow. Sometimes the growth has been good and sometimes not. Things we never considered before social media have become things we need to think about – like our privacy, and how we want our info shared or if we do. I have come to understand that anything I share on social media is never really private. So I share only what I am ok with the world seeing or knowing. Same goes on Instagram, Twitter and on and on.
But the good stuff? It is good. Re-connecting with old friends has been so great for me. I have also made new friends. My dad said one night that all my friends on Facebook are not real friends….and partially he is right. Some of those I have friended are acquaintances. But I don’t think that is bad either. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate that I can post a question or a need and someone out there I may not know well has some answer.
But oddly enough I have made new friendships through social media. And I have seen other friendships on social media blossom because of a common connection. I belong to a number of groups on Facebook. One is where creative types post their work. Put together by Author Jon Katz this group has developed into it’s own community. This online group gathers a couple times a year at Bedlam farm where Jon and Maria live in upstate NewYork. Friendships have grown online and many of these folks get together regularly. I have met up with a couple friends from an adoption group I am on. When I got cancer and I was in a horrible place I was compelled to post for help on my Facebook page (read about that here). People came out of the woodwork to help and offer support. What a blessing. When you think about it- what social media has done to the world as we know it- it is pretty phenomenal.
As for the group in the picture above? I can only imagine how hard it would have been to get all these ladies together without social media. I am very glad to have made these connections again. It is good for me. I tend to be on the introverted side. (I know what you are thinking friends – yes I can talk a lot but I am still introverted! Read this perfect post on being Introverted by Denise Gainey). I was so nervous to go meet up with these girls- but as soon as I walked into the restaurant the years melted away as did the anxiety. We really had a great time.
I am sure each one of us have stories of finding lost friends, lost loves, and reconnecting with family members on social media(I found cousins I have never met). We hear the news first on Twitter, and got a new job because of Linked In. Most of our children don’t remember a world without social media. Suffice it to say social media isn’t going anywhere. It is just going to grow and evolve. With that comes good and bad things. It will give me headaches sometimes and I will play the give and take app game with my kids. I will have to decide which forms of social media work for me. There is getting to be so much to choose from. And of course where my kids want to go I shall also go so I can keep an eye on them.
As I have been typing this I have been messaged by a new Facebook friend who is teaching me about Essential Oils and from another old friend I haven’t seen in a few years, I have been texting a friend about dinner this weekend and another to offer comfort and prayer while her husband in in surgery. These are connections we wouldn’t have without technology and social media. It really is amazing to me. I like it.