Thursday, May 15, 2014

In Defense of Social Media (oops, did I just say that?)

Disclaimer: I'm well aware of the concerns the dear reader has with social media. I am guilty as the next person of sharing all those gloom-and-doom videos of what happens to people when they are on their iPhones all day. This post is to show a positive side of it, that's all.

I've been thinking of this post and this image is a good example of what I have to say. It shows a casual conversation: a statement very Husband-like, about the dreadful weather, and then friends chiming in, from near and far--some of them have never met and probably never will meet. During the conversation, we were all on it together. Each of us in their own little world--the South Dakotan one being a gloomy one--but united in some virtual point of the ether, and with humor. It made me smile. It helped my day along. I have no doubt we all felt the same, even if in a minuscule way.

The feeling that has been difficult for me living in the USA all my married life is the one of isolation. I grew up in a world where the absence of need for climate-controlled, insulated, screened-in homes, made life open, and so with people. In Brazil it is impossible not to know your neighbor, or to ignore people on your street: you can hear them and see them all the time! OK, I may exaggerate, but you get the point. 

Fast forward to a newly mother-at-home in the USA where houses and their thermostats are prisons, the most common phrase is "close the door", and everyone is enclosed inside four walls.

Wait! I need people! How many times can a mother pack up all of the little children to go out so there is another adult to say hello to? I couldn't count the hundreds of times I had to that. That thirst for people, for conversations, laughter, companionship, in my years as a young mother, is what was the hardest of all. Hardest than any housework, by far. It was aggravated by my geographical upbringing, and by my extrovert personality, I know, but it was hard nonetheless.

So in comes social media. I see so many mothers-at-home posting photos, quotes, recipes, calls for prayer, for ideas, for help. I rejoice in that! Whenever there is need, there is an outpouring of positive help! Prayers, ideas, humor, all being exchanged. The world shrinks and people who couldn't possibly be in the same room feel like there is companionship, inspiration, support. That's so good!

As with everything--TV, computers, you name it--social media is a tool. It should be well-used and definitely in moderation. We are probably all guilty at times from over-using it, but in my optimism I see so much good. I feels so much closer to siblings, far away friends, and I have several times gotten to know much better someone I had just "known of" all my life! And don't get me started on all of the relevant, excellent spiritual information we receive--theology, saints, history, news, contemporary religious issues--because we choose well each friend, and the pages we like. 

So there, it may not be a stellar, brilliant defense, but I did it. 

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