We live in an amazing time. That sounds trite but it’s true nonetheless. Reconnecting with friends in person over the recent Christmas-New Year holiday reinforced how easy it is to keep in touch with those live hundreds or thousands of miles away. Between Facebook and Twitter, we are able to maintain and renew ties with old friends and colleagues and on occasion transform associates into friends, often without having met in person.
So much of this happens with the smallest of updates – 140 characters on Twitter, a photo uploaded to Flickr, a status update on Facebook, but there’s power in aggregation. A wealth of emotion and experience is subtly communicated when viewed in the context of the larger stream and our brains break that down, associating the bits and pieces with our impression of our fellow humans. We reach out when a cry is raised, but now we have a deeper insight into our friends’ lives and can lend a hand or an ear to that person before it is too late.
I’m not saying anything new, but I think it important to remind ourselves that there is a larger role to all of our status updates beyond sharing cool links, complaining about service at a restaurant and checking in at our favorite coffee shop. These threads intertwine, strengthening our ties to those important to us, and in some cases to those who will become important to us.