I often argue that technology and social networks are not replacing more personal relationships in our society. So many believe social media is replacing the face-to-face human interactions we’ve relied on for thousands of years.
At Christmas time, I can’t help but feel again the opposite.
While the majority of my family live in the same area I do, many of my friends live all over the globe. It’s not possible to see them this time of the year, but it is possible to feel like their almost here thanks to this crazy world we continue to forge online. Friends in Colorado, Kansas, Illinois, Great Britain, Nashville, Toronto, Afghanistan have all exchanged a hearty virtual Merry Christmas just today alone. These old and new friends may not be stopping by for some homemade ropa vieja and honey glazed ham, but they certainly feel closer thanks to social networks like Facebook and Twitter.
Too often the negatives about online interactions are the focus. Crumudgeony (no, that’s not a word but I am using it anyway!) writers too often extol the “less personal” side of social media without fully seeing its ability to bring us closer at times. They don’t participate but take shots from a far. They’re not seeing my virtual Christmas party on Facebook tonight and how its bringing a smile to my face.
I love the Christmas cards I get from friends but this dialogue tonight – in almost real-time – has been great.
As we continue to weave these social and mobile interactions into our lives more and more over the next few years, let’s not forget they can strengthen those personal relationships we’ve already developed. They can bring us all a little closer even when we’re separated by thousands of miles and multitudes of borders, even during the holidays.
Merry Christmas to all…and to all, a good night.