One of the truly wonderful aspects about having lived in so many different places is that you have friends who also live in many different places. I have friends who range the world over. They’re scattered from Argentina to Canada, from New Zealand to the USA, and at so many points in between.
I’m fortunate to to share in their lives, their stories, their experiences. I learn from them, laugh with them, cry with them, and solve the world’s problems with them. My understandings of cultures so different from my own have been enriched by them. My love for languages and histories has been stoked by them.
One of the truly terrible aspects of having lived in so many different places is that you have friends who also live in many different places. Getting together for a quick chat and a cup of tea becomes a matter of logistics or luck. Staying in touch with each other’s lives becomes a matter of vigilance and effort.
Social media, has made being actively involved in each other’s lives so much simpler. Sharing photos on Facebook, having conversations over FaceTime, texting on WhatsApp, messaging on Twitter, reading each other’s work on Tumblr or Medium or various blogs has made the distance shrink.
In the moments in my life when I’ve most needed my best friend, I haven’t simply picked up the phone, or driven to her house. My best friend doesn’t live within driving distance, and hasn’t for nearly ten years. Instead, I’ve sent a message on Messenger, or we’ve arranged a Skype call. We’ve laughed, and cried, we’ve boosted each other up, and told each other hard truths that nobody else would tell us, all through the good graces of electronic media.
So this is my ode to social media. For all its ills, for all its exacerbation of anxiety or stress, its also the thread that binds me to so many people I love, all over the world.