We frequently hear people bemoaning the lack of civility on social media and complaining about the nasty comments anonymous trolls make to people they don’t even know. I have experienced that aspect of social media myself and know the critics have a sound basis for this attitude.
Another criticism of the social media phenomenon is the number of virtual friends one can have. We are warned that quantity somehow precludes quality. But a Facebook friend of mine, whom I’ve never met face-to-face, posted a few days ago praising the loving support group of on-line friends she has. I think anyone who had a long-term childhood pen pal knows how deep a connection you can make across the miles.
When my son was married this summer, one of his groomsmen was an Internet friend he’d never met in person, but who few to California from Florida to be in the wedding party. Another Internet friend flew just as far simply to attend the wedding. This speaks volumes about the quality of friendships forged via social media.
There are bad, negative people everywhere, of course, but in social media we have the option of “unfriending” or blocking them a lot more easily than we can avoid unpleasant folks in our own neighborhood.
I started thinking about this when I logged on to Facebook this morning and saw all the upbeat, supportive and inspirational posts on my news feed. My Twitter feed is similarly full of informative, supportive posts from people I’ve come to respect and appreciate.
What a blessing it is to live at a time when no one needs to be isolated. With the advent of ever more user-friendly devices to access the Internet, even shut-ins have a link to their friends, both near and far.
I used to think television was the answer to loneliness for people confined to their homes, but how much more rewarding it is to not merely observe the world, but to be able to interact and communicate as well.
Once again we see how everything in Creation can be used for either good or evil. It is up to us to decide…and it’s always a good idea to choose you friends wisely.