Gripe all you want about the bothersome torture of social media (oh wait...you are reading my social media, so maybe you don't feel that way), but I am going to tell you some of the blessings I see.
No, I'm not just talking about the silly cartoons that we pass back and forth via Facebook like this one for dog lovers:
But I'm also talking about just funny life stories that happen to my friends. One of my dearest friends from college, Beth Underwood Patterson, also happened to be my little sister in my sorority. She SO needs to write a book of all the antics that happen to her. And she is a brilliant storyteller, so (with her permission), I will share one of her stories with you:
Another wobbly start to Tuesday, my friends. Last week? You may recall that I got my fingers stuck in the Ronald McDonald House change box. This morning? After a pretty sleepless night due to Clara’s insulin pump, I headed off to McD’s for Joe’s breakfast treat before his driver’s ed class. I did this without having had even one drop of coffee. I repeat: I tried to accomplish a life task withOUT my morning manna. This did not bode well. I ordered quickly, paid quickly, and popped my change in the collection box, without injury. I zipped home and called out, “Hey Junior, I’ve got your hash-.......” when I realized that I did not, in fact, have his breakfast treats. Coffee-free, I had tootled right through the 2nd spot- that place where the McD’s crew actually hands you the goods- and headed home. I headed back to McD’s, but not before grabbing a quick sip (cup) of java. When I arrived at the second window, the young man smiled at me. I asked him, “Has this ever happened to you before this morning?” He shook his head, still smiling, and said, “Nope. You’re my first.” I laughed and said, “Well, now you have a funny story to go home and share tonight. Have a great day!” His response? “I will now!”
Without the benefit of Facebook, I likely would not have heard that story.
So many funny stories and pictures are at our fingertips, thanks to Social Media, and who doesn't want/need to laugh?
I find myself so enthusiastic about reading other people's tweets (for the most part, because there are naturally some crazy things that come across my feed) and LinkedIn articles and Facebook posts. Where else, for example, could you have found out what people are eating for dinner or that there are rugs that are washable and ready to put back down on your floor immediately? Seriously, I have learned so many professional development tips that I can use with my own graduate level students from being on social media. For example, I just read words of wisdom from Danny Steele on Twitter: "It's good to know the content. It's great to know the pedagogy. It's imperative to know the students." Yes!
3. Re-connect with people from my past
Many people with whom I talk say this is what keeps them FROM getting on social media, but for me...it has truly been a blessing in so many ways. As a former guidance counselor and former principal, I now keep in touch with the teachers with whom I work. I am so excited to call them "friends" and not just former co-workers or "the rockstar teachers who used to work with me". In addition, I can keep in touch with students who have graduated from high school or college who were in grade school when I was their guidance counselor or principal (that's where I draw the line---they need to have graduated first). To see one of "my" kids tell me a Say No to Drugs song we used to sing together or to hear one of them say they still remember the puppets I used to use to teach them lessons about character absolutely fills my bucket.
One of the best connections I made via social media was after I was diagnosed with breast cancer 4 1/2 years ago. Throughout my journey of diagnosis, treatment of a double mastectomy, and healing, I shared my story and Dave's and my faith and humor. What was so incredible was being able to hear two people tell me they went to get mammograms after not ever having had one before (and one found a spot that needed to be removed). WOW! Likewise, the wife of the man who built a house for Dave and me when we lived in Florida got diagnosed with cancer a few months after me, and we are now VERY close friends....all because of a continued relationship with one another with God at the epi-center.
For these reasons and so many more, I am eternally grateful for social media. Please "like" my posts, "re-tweet" my tweets, and "comment" on my blog all you want...or not! The choice is yours.