I am a social media fan. Not just because it helps break censorship and give voice to the silenced and marginalised – although that is a huge plus. But also its diverse ability to connect family, friends, and strangers at home and away.
Of course social media can be used to horrible, destructive purpose too. But as with all things in life the good will usually outweigh the bad, and the promotion of good is something that shines above all dark cynicism.
And yeah there’s a lot of slagging about what the good looks like. Pictures of dinners, cats and mates in chippers at the end of the night are easy to tease. But I love all that in equal measure to posts which highlight human rights violations and promote vital social and economic campaigns.
Fair enough, we didn’t used to take photos of our dinners years ago. But nor could we share the story behind that picture. That special dinner for a special occasion. A child’s first stab at cooking for the family. That it took hours to make a family feast that is demolished in seconds. Just like the dinner photographed, the post is an expression of love and care. And that message is definitely worth sharing! Along with any tips on how to avoid lumpy gravy!
I have a significant number of online friends who love cats and dogs nearly as much as their own family members. Well actually there are a couple who definitely prefer their furry friends. When my lovely friends put up a professional portrait of their three teenage children with their year old Rottweiler in the middle, taking pride of place, it could have been a bit disconcerting. But actually it’s about how this loving family have embraced a new, if large, family member and their collective love has found another avenue of expression.
The late night photos in the chipper generally come from Dublin. Wonky and out of focus, they make me yearn for a batter burger with loads of vinegar. But more, it connects me to my friends and share a bit of their night out and craic, alleviating some of the home sickness this Dub feels for her home town.
There are the posts asking for prayers and thoughts for those going through hard times. Those posts allow for community outpouring for those we care about. Sometimes we may not know the person going through the hard time, but we connect to them through the heartbreak of those we do know. The support for Oscar Knox and his family is a really salient example of that as we were privileged to share in the wee man’s journey unfolding, touching us all.
So as timelines fill up in the next weeks with our trees being put up, tales of untangling of lights and showing off beautifully iced cakes let’s all rejoice in the best of this technology and continue to make our world a better place, reflecting the best of us, and promoting the funny, the happy and the caring.