The BEST thing about social media – why I fell in love with it all over again yesterday
To be honest I don’t need convincing on the merits of social media. It’s incredibly social, keeps you up-to-date with your industry, allows you to learn from almost anyone you want about anything you want, lets people find you and your message, connects you to people and networks you couldn’t reach otherwise, allows you to share what you are doing further and wider than ever before……….shut up, just shut up. You had me at ‘incredibly social’.
I adore facebook (click here to find me there!) and have done for some time. I’ve also found myself a recent twitter convert ( click here to find me there too!). And I clearly like to blog, but yesterday my love and awareness of what social media can do reached a whole new level. And it happened at what you might think is the most unlikely of places.
I was at a funeral. I had been asked to do a reading there as part of a ceremony. It was a particularly beautiful funeral and a really touching send-off for an elderly man who had passed away and who was clearly very much loved by his friends and family.
Before the service the man who was officiating showed me the service he had planned out. But, he had explained to me, he had to sweep over the youth and early 20’s of this man’s life. His children didn’t have a lot of early detail, his wife didn’t remember a lot of it, and his siblings had either passed away or were very elderly themselves. So there were holes in his story because it wasn’t easy for the celebrant to get this information anymore. It got me thinking that I want to speak to my Nana, as she is in her 90’s now, and make sure her story gets recorded. And I need to talk to my Mum too. Then I started thinking ‘heck, I should be getting my story written down too’…when I realised it – one of the greatest values of social media. That we will never have this problem again. That somewhere out there in the great vortex that is the internet (no, I don’t have a great understanding of how the whole thing works. Relevant? I think not) all our stories are being recorded right now. We get paranoid about what we have put up on the internet about ourselves, particularly when it comes to pictures, rants, emotions…and hangovers that we have shared (ah facebook). But these ensure that in the future we can be found by anyone who wants to find us. A friend pointed out to me last night that maybe it won’t be that easy to scan the archives of fb, twitter, etc. But I have faith (and no real technical knowledge) and wholeheartedly believe that a distant relative of mine who may wish to learn about their ancestor – me – will not only be able to find information about dates, places and events in my life, but will also be able to get to know me. They’ll be able to learn about my personality, my struggles, my frustrations and my sense of humour. They’ll have a chance at not just knowing about me, but knowing me.
How cool is that??!!
So if you’re reluctant about using social media, or worried about things you’ve put out there in the past (because you know you may delete it but really once it’s out there, it’s out there), think instead about the legacy it can leave, the imprint of you for anyone who wants to get to know you in the future, not just for the things that you’ve done. Though any naked photos of you floating around should be of even more concern to you right about now given what I have just said. 😉
Seriously though, we all want to be remembered. We all want our story told in the future. You could write it down – but your book is like an old piece of family jewellery. You just have to hope that people keep passing it down…which they won’t necessarily, and even if they do, at some point it will have lost it’s meaning. Use social media. Share who you are. Not just for those of us that want to get to know you now…but for those who might want to get to know you in hundreds or thousands of years from now. Now how’s that for a thought?
P.S. Hi distant Wests and West-offshoots in a very far-away time and land. I can seeee you! 😉