It seems like only yesterday when one of my favourite pastimes was to mock social media and the aficionados thereof; after all, why on earth would anybody want to take a photo of their breakfast and post it online? To me, social media was the virtual playground where fools would vent their anger and abuse others, whilst hiding behind a computer screen hundreds, or even thousands, of miles away. It was the vehicle used by unscrupulous people to groom and exploit their victims; it was how people with more time on their hands than sense whiled away their days.
One day, somehow, I opened a facebook account; and for the best part of two years it lay dormant. I had no more than a handful of “friends” and I didn’t even have a pic on display. One evening whilst visiting a friend, we somehow got on the subject of facebook and her son decided that I needed a profile pic and proceeded to use the webcam on his laptop to snap me. Then in the very early part of 2011 another friend’s son told me of the importance of global networking and made me realise that social media could be used for things other than announcing to the world that you are munching on a piece of cake or nursing a stonking hangover; and so it began, “The Dance of A Thousand Friendships”.
At the time I decided to use social media to connect with like-minded people all I had was an unused facebook account with around 15 friends (not one single post I tell you) and as for twitter, well, that was another universe entirely. Now three years have passed since I gingerly put my toe in the water, and what an incredible bunch of people I’ve connected with. I have found that spirituality works in its own way, independently of us humans, and will do whatever is necessary to connect people.
For me, what has been the outstanding factor of social media and what has had the biggest impact on me is how it has taught me to examine myself, my thoughts about myself and my thoughts about any particular situation I find myself in. When I’m having one of those days when I’m thinking along the lines of “doom and gloom” my online friends help me to put things into perspective.
I have been privileged to connect with, and even meet in the flesh, some incredible people. Social media has taught me that there are some amazing people in the world; survivors, entrepreneurs and inspirational people from all walks of life. I’ve met various cancer survivors (one particular lady is a five-times stage four survivor), I’ve met people who have made great sacrifices for the love of their families, I’ve met people who have made great successes of their lives and who rub shoulders with the rich and famous, but who remain firmly grounded and mindful of where they came from. I’ve even met a man who was on hunger strike outside 10 Downing Street and who was prepared to lay down his physical life for the cause he believed in.
Yes, most certainly, there is a link between spirituality and social media.
My incredible friends, you all know who you are; and I salute you!