The Virtual People You Meet Along the Way
“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” “Yes, we went to Facebook together!” – seen on Facebook.
Before social media, you met and interacted with other people in person – at work, church, through mutual acquaintances and so on. If you lost touch with these people, chances are you would never see them again. That all changed with the advent of social media. Through early platforms like Myspace, you were able to find and reconnect with your long lost friends and relatives. But when Facebook came along, it brought along with it The Missing Persons Bureau. Who among us didn’t find someone they lost touch with – some we were glad to see again (and some not so much!) – even though it wasn’t in person. No matter the circumstances, getting back in touch with people from the past is truly amazing.
When I first created a profile on Facebook about 10 years ago, I searched for a friend I went to high school with in Columbus, Ohio. I had lost touch with Denise many years ago, and was so pleased to find her profile, and by the looks of her photo she hadn’t changed a bit! I immediately sent her a friend request and an inbox message and waited with anticipation for her response. After all, she was one of the ones who befriended me when I moved to Columbus, Ohio from New York. I was a new senior at the school, and as you can imagine everyone had already been friends for years; had already established their “cliques”. Shy by nature, I knew not one soul and I felt like such an outsider. But here was Denise, on one of my first days at school, who smiled and said hello. Our friendship lasted after graduation, and then we became club buddies, motoring around in her yellow Mustang with the black top. We were together when I met my first husband, and her daughter was a flower girl in my wedding. After I moved to Atlanta, life moved on and we lost touch. And here she was on Facebook! Yay!
As fate would have it, I narrowly missed my reunion with Denise; I learned from a classmate that she had passed away from breast cancer just a few short months before I found her on Facebook. I was devastated; I cried my eyes out for days. I was sad at the thought that if I found her sooner, I could’ve done something to comfort her, or at least visited her, to say thank you for being a friend when I needed one.
And oh, what about the new friends you make! Mutual friending takes on a whole new meaning. In fact, it’s not uncommon to make “friends” with people you’ve never even met in the flesh, or have had very little physical contact with. Yet, the bonds created on social media can sometimes endear you to those people – the ones you’ve never laid eyes on. There are happy stories and there are sad stories. Through your interactions, you may even find the love of your life, or the bestie of a lifetime. You’ll find friends to visit when you’re visiting their town, making business travel evenings amount to more than just sitting in a hotel room alone. You watch their children grow up and go off to college or get married, you are privileged to view videos and photos of their vacations, nights out on the town, business ventures, and so on. You discover their likes and dislikes, cry with them when their loved ones pass on (or are unfortunately saddened when they pass on), and rejoice with them when their children and extended family reach a successful milestone. You laugh at and with the crazy folks, you cheer each other on, the lively debates with the “devil’s advocates” keep you on your toes and you become “framily” with fellow members of longstanding Facebook groups. Through all of this, somehow, you form this … bond.
This post is dedicated to my digital friends – the people who make a difference in my life in the virtual world. Whether you’re part of the group I know in person or if I simply enjoy our interaction on social media, each group is as meaningful to my life as the other. What about your virtual friends? Share some of your social media friending stories in the comments, I’d love to hear them!
Hi, it’s me, Janine Lattimore and I want to inspire and encourage you to #keepgoing! Based in the Atlanta, Georgia area, and among the many other hats I wear, I’m a writer, mother and Editor in Chief for Classy Living Society, a women’s only national community service organization. I’m here to share philosophy, inspiration, humor, a bit of inside info and tidbits I learned along life’s beautiful journey. Welcome!