Friday, February 28, 2014

Who said social media is evil?

   A lot has been written about the evils of facebook... all social media, come to think of it. I’ve nodded my head from time to time, silently agreeing with what I’ve read.
   But in the last week, culminating in the last twenty-four hours, I’ve witnessed and been a small part of something so remarkable, I had to share.
   I belong to a writer’s group. All genres are represented, and the members are from all over the world.  It’s a relatively small group, which means that we ‘know’ each other. As in most groups, some participate more than others. We have one member who is a remarkable talent. He’s a gifted illustrator as well as a top-notch author. And he hasn’t been feeling well.
   He told us about going to the doctor, and all week group members have been posting, asking him how he’s feeling. Yesterday, he learned that he has colon cancer.
   The outpouring of genuine affection for this young man hasn’t surprised me. He’s a kind, giving person, and, I suspect, something of a philosopher in his own right.
   None of us ‘know’ this man, at least not in the traditional sense. But that’s my point. Social media has changed how we get to know and interact with people. (Except those ones in the middle east who want to put six million dollars in my bank account – I don’t think I’ll ever want to ‘know’ them.)
   I’ve watched the messages go from expressions of dismay and support to a light-hearted discussion on whether or not he should shave his head and get the hair loss over with. He’s told us that humor is a big part of how his family deals with adversity, and he’s given us permission to laugh with him. I know that every member of the group will go to sleep tonight feeling a little humbled at the way he’s dealing with this new obstacle in his life. And, depending on their own personal beliefs, sending positive energy and prayers his way.
   Social media can be a good thing, if we let it.

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