Thursday, March 31, 2011

My internet herd

I can feel completely alone in my house. Not alone alone (so turn around you stalker creepy perverts) but alone in the sense of girl time alone. I live in the middle of nowhere with neighbors who all have children closer to my age than they are. The lack of social interaction can be crippling for me.

But these days, the world is a teeny tiny place. If I'm feeling angsty, I can whisper a tweet to friends in Florida, Ohio, New York, or even England (for goodness sake) and I feel much less alone.  I've never met one of them face-to-face but someday we dream of getting together like long-lost pen pals.

I can't imagine being as alone I am in the world without this kind of interaction. How did my mom do it? My grandmothers? I'm sure that time was spent on the phone, but it's different on social media. It's not necessarily real-time. It's more voluntary.

I can chose to read a message or reply when I'm ready. And vice versa.  If I call, it interrupts. And it's continuous. I can run around the house in between tweets and get other stuff done. Or not.

I spend enough time with these people that I feel safe with them even though it is quite possible we'd pass one another at the mall without a second glance. I know I can spout something to them and get an honest, sharp, and likely witty response.

It's special to me to have a support network of people that I trust to tell me that it'll be ok or to stop whining if the situation begs.

Social media gets a bad rap. The gossip, the back-handedness, the deceit.  The idea that people on twitter announce everything that they're doing at a given second "I just brushed my teeth."

This IS the case sometimes, but social media has connected people who would be fantastic friends if they weren't separated by geography and circumstance. Inclusion in a group is an important thing.

From Ice Age...
Manny:  'That's what you do in a herd, you look out for each other.' 
Sid:  'I don't know about you guys but we are the weirdest herd I have ever seen.'