This post may qualify as the “not much ‘rithmetic” that I’ve promised in my blog. Social media, like much of life, has its positives and its negatives. Enough people give warnings about the negatives, so I’m going to stick to positives. Early on, I joined Facebook to keep up with almost grown grandchildren. Since they have since gone on to other social media, that has had limited success though they will show up occasionally to “like” a post I’ve done.
An unexpected benefit was reestablishing contact with former students. I’ve had teacher envy with friends who taught in the same community and frequently saw former students either on a daily basis or on return visits to their hometowns and knew of their adult success. Teaching in military communities meant either my students moved or I did and with few exceptions, we lost touch. Because of Facebook, I now have contact with a number of my former students and see them fulfilling the potential I saw in kindergarten, second grade, or junior high.
A different benefit has shown up since I began my blog. I’ve gained a few friends as blog readers “liked” something I posted which gave access to their friends. Sometimes a friend of a sister or friend of a friend has read a blog and decided to become a friend of mine as well. All this has reminded me of a song that Mama taught us when we were little, hoping we would take in its message. The chorus lyrics are “If your friends are my friends, and my friends are your friends, the more we get together, the happier we’ll be.” In my opinion, one can never have too many friends. My one caution on this count is that if someone asks to be Facebook friends, I have to see a connection – either friend of a friend, a member of the writing community, or participant of another group of which I’m a member.
For several years, I’ve had a growing Facebook friendship with a friend of my sister. In a bit of serendipity, they were able to add a couple of nights to a recent trip they took together and come for a visit so I got to meet her in person. After sharing a jigsaw puzzle, a number of words, and my homemade cinnamon rolls, I’ve come up with a new equation that matches Mama’s jingle. Your Friends + My Friends = More Happiness.
My conclusion? Social media is not all bad especially when it leads to real life relationships.