I love social media because it creates a web of connective tissue that runs back and forth between us like an elegant spiders web made up of seemingly lightweight strands – vacation snaps, silliness, inspired thoughts and polemic. We share fragments of our lives over great distances on invisible frequencies, and because our souls transcend time and place, we can connect easily through the ether, sensing emotion and reading heart-lines in these little missives.
But perhaps, most beautifully, social media has the power to connect us when all else fails. Several years ago I said goodbye to a dear friend via Skype. Looking into his eyes and laughing about old times while 3,000 miles separated us was a magical piece of digital time travel. In recent months, two beautiful young men of my acquaintance have suffered incredible tragedy. One was hit by a tour bus in NY. I was offered a window into his ICU room via Caring Bridge (a social site where loved ones post on his progress). I’ve cheered him on from afar. And now he is walking again, I am as elated as if he had just won the NY marathon (which in a way he has). Then a few nights ago, I got a chance to ‘chat’ with another friend via Facebook messaging. It was one of the most moving conversations I’ve had on social media. Over a couple of hours, I learned a little of the cold hard truth of what it feels like to inherit a deadly genetic disease, which at this point has erased all of his family and is robbing him of his faculties. But in the midst of his suffering, with his voice fading, he is still able to ‘chat’ digitally and to send me beautiful fragments of poems. It felt like such an honor to share even a fragment of these incredible journeys in this way.