August 19, 2011

Blurring the lines

There are a lot of people who just don't "get" social media. They either don't use it, or they don't know how to use it properly.

They also tend to make fun of those who do enjoy it. In particular, they scoff at the idea that the people we connect with online can be friends.

Some people say you don't really get to know others online. You don't "see" their authentic self. You see snippets. The better side. The part they want you to see.

I say I know more about some of the people I've met online than I do the people I know "in real life." And vice versa. And I do consider them to be friends.

I have now met a number of my "online" friends in person. Each time, she has been exactly as I expected. We have gotten along great. And I've liked her even more than I did before.

Social media enables us to cross a broad spectrum of boundaries. Expand our horizons. Reach out of our comfort zones. Get to know people we might not have the opportunity to otherwise.

Sure, I am often drawn to people like me. At the very least, I gravitate toward those with whom I have something in common. Be it writing. Motherhood.

But I have connected with people I would likely not ever cross paths with in my day to day existence, or not have been drawn to initially because our our differences.

Given the chance to get to know them outside of the confines of "real life," I have made wonderful friends who have richly enhanced my life.

If anyone wants to make fun of that, they are welcome to. But I happen to think it is fabulous.
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