Has social media ruined society? Absolutely not.
Social media has its lovers and its haters.
Today, my sister posted a comment on Facebook about our family cat, Figaro. We had him in the 1970s.
People sometimes don’t believe me when I tell them I have a memory of walking up the road with my mom and my sisters to look at the tiny kittens. They were in a laundry basket at a neighbor’s house. I was a tiny kitten myself, being only one and a half years old.
One of those kittens was Figaro. At some point he came home with us, he was part of our family for 13 years.
Figaro would come and go as he pleased, so the whole neighborhood new him.
Hence the reaction to my sister’s post.
It didn’t take long, and the old gang from the neighborhood immediately started making comments on my sister’s post about good old Figaro. People remembered that he was a prolific hunter. They remembered the extra toes on his front paws.
I remembered myself how, in his later years, he slept in my bed every night because my sister had gone off to college.
These memories were stirred up from times that have long since passed. Memories from decades ago and of life on a small suburban street full of kids.
We grew up playing kick the can until dark, riding bicycles and skateboards up and down the street,and going to each other’s birthday parties. The neighborhood moms were like second moms to all of us. Our only constraint was to be home when it got dark.
As is inevitable, we all grew up and moved off in different directions. We took different paths. We created our own lives. Now the old neighborhood gang is spread all over the world.
Life today gets really busy. I’m not sure, maybe it was just as busy for our parents back when we were kids. It felt simpler.
Today’s everyday demands and distractions can squeeze out thinking about things like old family pets and kick the can in the neighbor’s backyard.
Reminding us of those memories is a gift that social media gives us. Memories that are beautiful in their simplicity. Sharing memories suh as these keeps us connected.
The happy reminiscence that happened today never would have happened without modern social media.
Sure, there was a time when people never left the town they were raised in. But we don’t live in that time anymore. Now we venture out, we see the world, we go where we want to go, we go where our jobs take us, and we can use social media to come home when we want.
I couldn’t tell you the last time I thought of Figaro. Social media gave me a gift today. A memory that put a smile on my face, a warmth in my heart, and a reunion with the kids of my tiny street of decades ago.
“Always torn between roots and wings.” Lewis Frey
Today, social media is getting a lot of people through the pandemic.
We're at the one year mark of a pandemic that's left millions of people at home and missing social contact. I think things would have been a lot worse for people if they couldn't connect via social media. I could lament about the ugly ways social media was used to sow hatred and division, especially during the election, but here I want to focus on its positive aspects.
Use social media to connect with your friends from the past. Look up your old neighborhood pals and schoolmates. Reach out to them to say hi.
Keep your posts positive. Add to the healing message humanity needs right now.
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