Every time I hear someone say that people are less connected now because of the internet and social media, I want to tell them it’s because they’re doing it wrong.
Since I started playing around on Twitter, I’ve met some interesting people and made great new friends, and even found some lost ones along the way.
Some of these people I have even a better relationship with them now that we can stay in touch much more easily. Most importantly, my connection to my friends and family in Bangkok has never been stronger.
My current visit to Bangkok so far has been one of the most adventurous trips yet. My dance card is more or less full everyday as I hang out with my friends and reconnecting with those I’ve lost touch with years ago. It would not have been this way without social media.
Before Facebook, it was difficult to connect with friends whom I have not spoken to in a while, and it was even more challenging to arrange to meet in a group.
And here I am, running off to lunch with people I have not seen in several years.
For example, there are two girls I used to take tennis classes with who eventually became so good of friends I’d get to hang out at their house for days on end in the summer. I haven’t seen them since I left for the US (although they are now friends with my oldest brother) almost 20 years ago now. And I’m having lunch with them Friday.
Another sibling team I will reconnect with on Thursday were once close friends of the family. Our dads worked together and our moms became good friends. The oldest brothers went to high school in England together, and I went to English immersion program with the youngest brother with his middle doing the same thing at a school nearby. Everyone grew apart. But I found them once more on Facebook. Guess who’s running out to lunch at the brothers’ restaurant on Thursday?
And then, I get to hang out with–and hopefully meet some–people I have met and became friends with over the internet. I got to watch Glee finale with Kitty, my darling nerdling of a little sister and she took me out to dinner. We are trying to get some other Bangkok tweeps I have “met” online together for a tweet up next week. It would be such a treat.
Finally, the most important connection of all is to my family.
With two older brothers, it was hard to know what they were up to as they are not entirely chatty. But now I get to follow their lives along instead of being left in the dark as I have been most of the time.
I’ve reconnected with my cousins who had moved away and then ended up in New Zealand. And I’ve also found a few cousins on my mom’s side whom I wasn’t all that close to growing up and a few nieces and nephews from my father’s side I had barely met.
My mom’s best friend, Aunty Sida, ever the Coolest Aunty On the Planet, has been “playing Facebook” for sometime now. She’s doesn’t post much but she posts a lot of photos especially through Instagram. This artsy aunty needs an Instacanv.as shop! It’s great to see all her–and her group of friends’– adventures.
And of course, the last to join the social media fray, my father. His executive assistant has to check his Facebook for him and she still does his posts. However, now that dad has an iPhone, he browses around himself! And boy does he look at his phone every time it dings!
As a matter of fact, I taught him to use Instagram yesterday. See?
If you use social media correctly, it doesn’t stop you from going outside to play. It doesn’t make you a robot. It may not be the paper birthday cards or 2-hour phone calls it used to be, but it doesn’t make relationships less meaningful.