Well, happy Valentine’s Day to all my Happiness Corner friends. It seems fitting to be talking about online love connections today.
And before you go there, I am not talking about “those” love connections although I’m quite happy if that’s how people meet the one they’re celebrating this holiday with.
I’m talking about other online connections, the ones in which there’s a kindness and a caring, dare I say it?, the most human sense of connection: love. What the Greeks called agape love. The love that comes in community and is of the spirit.
Until last May when I left my old career, I wasn’t on any social media platforms for security reasons. I certainly wasn’t on Facebook or Twitter, but I am now. I headed off into these vast online communities with some hesitation. Did I really want to be “out” there? And if I went out there, what awaited me? I’m the kind of person who likes to have intimate dinner parties, quiet one-on-one lunches, coffee with friends, and long phone conversations. Those venues suit my need for meaningful connection, what I call community or agape love.
When I first came online, I really didn’t know the mechanics of posting and such. I’d have to call my siblings and ask them how to do this and do that. Soon, I had the particulars down. Then I struggled with what to say. I wasn’t raised to really put myself out there, so this whole, talking about myself and posting pictures about me and my life was well…disconcerting. And what in the world would be the reception?
For a while, I wasn’t sure what to make of it all. This whole numbers game of how many FB friends, Page Likes, and Twitter followers seemed to detract from the true meaning of connection to me. Numbers have never mattered in my friendships. It’s always about quality. And yet, here I was, surrounded in this new place where I started to feel the pressure of the numbers…and then had to ask an even bigger question: was there any true meaning to any of it? Was I really creating a community? A place of love, happiness, and inspiration like I want in all of my communities?
Then a dear writer friend, Katy Regnery, told me something about Facebook. She said it was like having a conversation on the front porch whereas Twitter was like a raucous party. Perhaps you’ve heard these comparisons before, but I hadn’t, and I am forever grateful to Katy for sharing them with me.
With that new intention, I started to see Facebook as that front porch conversation with friends. I started to engage even more on that level, hoping to inspire, hoping to spread light, and be a positive influence.
And my online “love” connections started to build.
Then this week, a reader who has been a regular on my Facebook page commented about how much my books have changed her life. She has a long-time disease and feels very isolated, but she’s connecting with me and is so glad to have found me. She’s even able to read again.
Her message brought tears to my eyes. And it made me so very happy.
There have been other moments online, but what I wanted to share today is that there is a possibility to find that happy corner on social media, a place where we do feel more connected with each other, where we become more than our user name and our Facebook profile.
We are connected, and it took my writer friend’s comment (someone I met on Twitter ironically), to help me see how I could be connected in a meaningful way, how I could view Facebook and Twitter as a valuable and uplifting community space.
So, thank you, Katy, and thanks to the lovely reader and many others who have reached out using this online way of connection.
And on this Valentine’s Day, let’s call in more loving online connections in the coming year where we remember that just because we sit in a room on a computer doesn’t mean we are not in the presence of true friends.
Image courtesy of mapichai / FreeDigitalPhotos.net