Critics of social media abound. There’s not a week, maybe even a day, that goes by that I don’t hear someone complain about the “pseudo friendships” and “virtual and meaningless” relationships that are forged and maintained online. We all have heard, some of us even have said it, “If I want to talk with someone, I pick up the phone and call them.” Interestingly, in the days prior to the digital revolution, the telephone itself had its critics for being, well, impersonal. But regardless of where you stand on this debate, I am thankful for my social media friends and here’s why:
Yesterday it was my birthday and before the day was over I had nearly 200 messages, tweets and texts from friends from all over the globe. I couldn’t have talked to a fraction of them even if I wanted to, but their love came through strong, even through a digital medium. I felt loved and appreciated living in a global village connected by the internet.
I have met interesting, funny, committed, smart, wise, spiritual and successful people through Twitter, Facebook, Orkut and LinkedIn that outside social media I would have never known. They have impacted my life in a real and practical way with their posts, suggestions, resources and encouragement. Many of them I have never met personally, but their contribution is no less appreciated or needed than as if they were sitting across from my desk.
My business has benefited from clients I’ve met online and whom my company serves now. I can quantify a significant amount of projects that are directly tied to my social media involvement.
I have reconnected with friends I hadn’t seen in decades and that are now part of the ongoing narrative of my life story and I of theirs. Without social media, those connections would have been lost as they were until Facebook and Orkut began connecting us all.
I know there are privacy and personal risks with being an active member of these communities. But for me, the advantage far, far outweighs the liabilities.
What about you? How has social media impacted your life?