Before I got into blogging I used to keep an electronic journal. A few times a week I’d open up a Word document and write about things that mattered to me. Then I’d save that document and place it in a folder labeled by the year. Never to be opened again.Sometimes I’d write poetry. Sometimes short fiction. Occasionally I’d share the stories with my wife. Before I had a computer, I used to keep these journals on notebook paper – written in ink. I have cases of paper in my attic filled with these journal entries, poems and short stories.
In early 2008, I had just a few friends. Mostly these were people I either worked with, or who we’d met through the school our daughters attended. I never kept in touch with people from my past, and my mother was the only person I communicated with in my family. I tried out social media during the summer of 2008 because of Barack Obama. I was intrigued with how Obama mobilized people through digital media. Namely, social media. Namely, Twitter, Facebook and blogging. By January 2009, thanks to the idea of hyper connectivity as the result of social media, I was convinced that how our species communicated and connected had changed forever. And so I threw myself into it. Connecting with people all over the world and sharing ideas, work and life.
Today, I still only keep in touch with that one person from my past, and my mother still represents the only family member I’m connected with (though not via social media) – but over the past four years I’ve learned how to open up my life and connect with people in a way that makes me feel more human than ever before. And all it requires is that I am honest with myself. Now when I write a story, I share it with the world on my blog. Same goes for snapping a picture of something I find interesting and posting it to Instagram. Or sharing a funny story about my daughter on Facebook. Or asking for help on Twitter. I feel more connected to people, and the world, than at any time in my life.
Understand it or not; agree with it or not; like it or not – social media brings people together and gets more people involved in your life than ever before. When you share your life, and practice authenticity, people care. It’s not about trying to outdo each other to see who has a better life. It’s about the willingness to be vulnerable enough to share the life you do have.
Our lives are our great love stories. Unique experiences that connect us all. Sharing life is the best thing we can do for each other.