Social Media and REAL Community

KermitI am generally on the side of believing that social media is NOT conducive to developing REAL relationships. What we see of our “friends” on-line tends to be superficial and sometimes even downright misleading.

However. Every once in a while it turns into something compelling and wonderful

Saturday evening I checked Facebook and stumbled across a comment from a writer-friend in Canada. She was writing at a pub and noticed a large group of friends nearby . . . including an attractive guy (she’s single).

“i am trying to ascertain if the woman beside him is with him —or just part of the group. and this is me on sleuth duty. keep you posted.”

And that was the beginning of a four hour+ festival of her friends (many of them writers) being glued to a single Facebook post that ultimately had more than 600 comments. We waited breathlessly for her to report on observed interactions offering advice with varying degrees of helpfulness and posting a ridiculous number of gifs. My favorite being one of Kermit the Frog biting his nails.

Then . . . a loooooong silence.

Yet not silence because writers began doing what they do best–making stuff up. Entire romances spun out. Wedding invitations were mailed. One mom had to step away to deal with a poopy diaper. (Okay, that was pretty real.)

And then, about three hours in, our friend returned to report that she’d joined the group and learned that the cute guy in question was married. However, there was a plot twist. An unmarried guy in the group did ask to exchange numbers!

I think I heard the roar of applause across the United States, Canada, and apparently New Zealand.

She finally wrapped the evening up with this: “and some nights are so unique that you end up sitting with strangers and laughing and plotting cowboy romances for harlequin (yes) and cheering olympic skiing . . . and just feeling a community in a huge metropolis.”

The funny thing is . . . while my friend was experiencing actual, first-person community, she had also created a space where hilarious virtual community swept up 30 or 40 people in an incredible evening of love and laughter.

I’m still a HUGE fan of actual, in-person interaction. However, it seems that genuine, REAL, social media interaction is possible. The trick is for someone to start out by being so honest, open, and real that it attracts the same . . .

7 thoughts on “Social Media and REAL Community

  1. Being one of the people “observing” the thread, I have to say it was a most entertaining evening. I had been watching a movie on tv, my husband turned it off and I didn’t even notice!
    I’m happy to see your blog post about it today. I’m hoping that a book or two will come out of it too.

  2. Social media has made it possible for me to be able to talk to people without stumbling and stuttering over my words. In person, I’m not very impressive, and sound stupid. Online though, I have time to put my coherent thoughts in writing, and really communicate with people. I prefer email to in person. That’s just me.

    • I love that you’ve found a way to be part of community in a way that’s comfortable for YOU. Who knows, maybe it’ll lead to meeting some of those folks out in the world and connect there more easily as well.

  3. I was there on this thread live. It was so much fun and the suspense was perfect. Later that night after it was over I was watching my son play college basketball when I shared the thread with my sister-in-law. We enjoyed it in real life too. I still smile when I think about it. There are some clever folks out there and I’m glad to call a few of them my friends. And I’m looking forward to meeting many of them in person in the seasons to come.

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