I’ve been really thankful for social media this week, and not just because I get paid to help small businesses excel at it. Sure, our social feeds sometimes feel over saturated with iPhone photos of lattes, unimaginative promoted content, or memes, but the times that these platforms allow us to organise, educate, and meaningfully connect with one another far outweigh any of the grievances I’ve heard from people opposing their use.
On Monday, I learned about the explosions at the Boston Marathon the same way I’ve learned about most major news events in the past five years, through Twitter. Moments after the bombs went off, my social feeds were full of photos and updates from people near the tragedy. With my heart in my throat, I read Facebook updates from friends assuring their loved ones that they were shaken, but safe. I kept a close eye on Twitter for updates from my favourite news agencies and scrolled through eye-witness images in real-time on Instagram. It was harrowing and it was powerful and it made me realise how truly lucky we are to live in such a connected world.
In addition to the marathon news, since Monday, I’ve learned about the earthquake on the border of Pakistan and Iran, the fertiliser plant explosion near Waco, Texas, and the touching applause at Thatcher’s funeral, all through social media. I’ve also learned that The Mount Edgcumbe has a delicious-looking burger on their menu this week, that someone has re-invented the wheel, and that David Sedaris advocates for one of my favourite writing tips AND has a new collection of essays out soon. All this information has been unsolicited but illuminating and I’m pleased to be aware of it.
For the nay-sayers out there, sure, social media can be trivial, and sometimes it takes a lot of work to cut through the b.s. and create a meaningful connection. But when it does, social can be powerful, too, and this week, I’m extra thankful for the ability to carry my friends, my favourite informants and my go-to web curators easily in my pocket. This week, I’m especially thankful for social.
Photo of my phone displaying Justin Erswell’s latte from Basil, shared via Instagram on Tuesday. You may remember Justin as my tech shaman and you can look forward to seeing more from him in the next couple weeks.