So, I had a great lunch today with a friend I don't see nearly often enough. Good face time seems to be more scarce than a chupacabra sometimes. Anyway, talking with her made me realize it's been forever since I talked to one of my bestest soulfriends in the Universe. And this, led me to thinking about how social media has impacted the way we all interact with one another. So, here are some things I dig about the social network.
1) It's Easy: I admit it. I can be lazy. When I was in college (before Facebook, Twitter and MySpace), I had like a handful of friends that I saw every day. We constantly talked or hung out or IMd and all that stuff. And it's not hard to understand why. Well, other than being socially awkward and trying to figure out who the hell I was, my favorite shows were Sex and the City, Friends and Queer as Folk. Think about what you see here (and on most shows, for that matter)... a tight group of 4-6 people form your ensemble cast. Anyone who comes in is a guest star. They don't last long, just help spin plot and fill time during season lag. And at that time in my life, it felt like the writers for those shows were doing the scripts for my relationships. Face time in these kinds of situation comedies is easy, because the core cast is always together. Maintaining friendships like that is simple.
But then, stuff changed. I moved and my life got out of the holding pattern it was in. My social circles exploded. Suddenly, I had to work to make sure everyone got time and that blew my mind. This is one reason that I love social media. It allows me to have daily interactions with people even if we can't make time to sit down and see each other.
2) Reunion: I have reconnected with people I knew in high school. Some were really close friends then and we've picked up right where we left off. Others? Others I didn't talk to much because in that funhouse mirror that is high school, I thought they hated me. I totally dig that with Facebook, I can get to know these people as *people* and not as a series of socially aggravated neuroses. We're (mostly) whole people now. We've grown into ourselves and all of that petty shit that seemed monumental back then, isn't. So, I love that I have made friends with old enemies or people I was too scared to talk to then. Those people are some of my best friends and biggest supporters right now. 3) Cute pictures of cats: This is pretty obvious. Go on internet. Find pictures of cats. Share link. This happens all the time on Twitter, Facebook and every other social site you'll find. Sometimes, it's the one thing that can turn a bad day into a tolerable one. Seriously, just look at that kitty! KITTY!
4) Networking: I admit that with few exceptions, I have compartmentalized my social media use. MySpace? Irrelevant. Deleted. Facebook? Friends and family. Google+ ? Still figuring that one out. Twitter? Twitter is my place for professional networking. It's my water cooler. While yes, I talk to friends there, mostly, I use Twitter to listen to and have conversations with other writers, agents, editors etc. And it's so cool that we can all do that. We can all find people with similar interests and geek out about it... and hopefully become better at our passions. Added bonus? Some of those writers and agents I started following for professional advice became people I consider to be good friends who've helped me through some rough spots on this journey. They're people I drink chai with in the morning from a few time zones away. And I think that is pretty damn cool.
*5) Pure Shits and Giggles: I admit it. It gives me the chance to continue to annoy my ex and act as a force of castrophony in the lives of others. Oh, and there's an endless supply of awesome videos, time sinks and Dr. Who quotes flying about at any given time. ("That's all I am now. Rude and not ginger.")
Social media is part of living in the future. Some may ask if the Internet has killed privacy, if it's made us worse. Some may argue that we have a stronger sense of community and humanity because of the Internet. I dunno. I'm in the middle. Nothing beats good face time and shared tiramisu with one of your tribe...but when that's not possible, a hug on Twitter can really change your day.
What about you? Do you use social media? Do you separate business/family/friends? Weigh in.
*edited after original post.