Remember back when you started your first MySpace page or when you first learned how to connect with other folks online? I have a very clear memory of the very first instant message I ever received. It was 1992, and I was sitting in the computer lab at my college. A dear friend had left the college to finish his degree down at a larger university, and I was missing him. He happened to be online, and, being WAY more tech savvy than I, managed to contact me on my college network, and suddenly I was talking to him online – little orange words on a black screen. I remember thinking “WOW – this is amazing!!!,” especially since back then phone calls were still relatively expensive. No free nights and weekends. And here I was, talking to my friend, and making an appointment to meet him back online again a few nights later. I was so grateful to know that I would be able to talk to my friend without it costing an arm and a leg. It started a whole new world for me.
Fast forward to 2004. My husband of 2 months was leaving for Afghanistan, and MySpace was getting very popular. We set up our accounts, knowing that we could at least stay in touch there, even if we were thousands of miles away from each other with a 13 and-a-half hour time difference. Another leap forward for me, and again a whole new world. My husband is a fantastic writer, and when he wrote of his experiences in Afghanistan, I could hear his voice. When he posted photos to his page, I could see what he was seeing, and when he really needed to vent, he could send me a message and know I would get it because I checked MySpace more than I checked email. Again, gratitude in spades for being able to stay in touch with my husband.
And now Social Media has vaulted me forward again, into this new world that I am sharing with my other Social Wahines. And while Gwen and Karen still have the drop on me in terms of how much they know about social media and its power, and feel unbelievably blessed and grateful to know them and be part of this new story we are creating together.
All of us complain about some of the banalities of Facebook, Twitter, even LinkedIn to a certain extent. But in the end, these amazing tools allow us to stay connected, communicate, and be part of something greater than ourselves. Maybe what you want to be part of is know whether or not Kim Kardashian is throwing her annual birthday party in Vegas. That’s cool. Maybe what you want to be part of is a worldwide movement to end the abuse of women. That’s cool too. Whatever it is, we have more capacity, more ability now to grow beyond ourselves and into something bigger, better, more.
Now who wouldn’t be grateful for that?