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    • Social media is such a huge part of our daily lives. It's often placed under the microscope for all the negative connotations associated with it, mental health issues chief among them. However, some truly heartwarming stories can emerge out of social media, and this is one such story.

      The tl;dr version of it is this - two 9 year old girls met on a cruise and instantly became BFFs. After the cruise they went their separate ways. 12 years later one of the girls wanted to find her old BFF and turned to Twitter. She posted a picture of them together and asked Twitter to work its magic. And work its magic Twitter did. In less than 12 hours, her BFF responded after being told by her friends that Twitter was looking for her.

      This, as some have said, is the power of the internet. However, I think "the power of Twitter" is more apt. Just think, in less than 12 hours, Twitter users spread the word of a girl looking for her long lost friend and they succeeded in finding her. That's just a remarkable outcome.

      But wait, there's another story I want to share, and this story is a little closer to home, literally, as this story comes to you from Malaysia.

      tl;dr - A woman wanted to find her biological mother as she is going to get married next year. She didn't have a lot of info to go on. Just some old photos, her name, place of birth, and a former place of employment. She turned to Twitter, and in less than a day her biological aunt got in touch. That night itself, she met her biological mother for the first time in 22 years. Is your heart all warm and fuzzy?

      As much as we criticise the use of social media as a tool for the spread of misinformation, slander, cyber-bullying, and as a cause of mental health problems, it can also be used for good. Reconnecting people is probably the most common positive outcome of using social media.

      Do you have any stories to share about how you reconnected with friends or family via social media?

    • Amazing stories! Thanks for sharing. When social media is great, it’s so great. I have a few personal ones like that and you may inspire me to find others. More interesting than any of mine, however, is this one I just watched. I even cried. It wasn’t through Twitter, but still.

    • A long lost high school friend once paid a private investigator to track me down.  

      It was before Facebook or Twitter and we were both living far away from each other.  She sent a very nice letter, but without including a phone number. I wrote back and then never heard from my friend again.  

      A decade or more later, the high school friend found me again, this time through Facebook.  

      There’s an old expression, “You can’t go home again.”  It comes from the title of a book by Thomas Wolfe and it basically means that if you try to return to a place you remember from the past it won't be the same as you remember it.  

      We did exchange a few emails.   She had changed so much in personality. It was if the friend I remembered fondly had disappeared.

      It’s been several years since we last connected and I still sometimes wonder if technology was to blame. Would the reconnection have gone better if we had had the chance to slowly get to know the person we had become, like the Fox and the Little Prince in de Saint-Exupéry‘s novel, instead of being instantly inflicted with each other’s decade of Facebook timelines?

    • Fascinating. It made me feel better to read that. I like to think of myself as someone who forms super close friendships with people and stays friends forever, but after using social media to reconnect with several long-lost friends, I'm surprised at how different our lives have become. I loved catching up with them, but the thing that bonded us at one time was no longer there.

      I wonder if it's sometimes different if you stay in touch over the years. My father-in-law served in the Army where he and his wife bonded with other couples, and their incredibly close bonds have lasted for decades.

    • Do you have any stories to share about how you reconnected with friends or family via social media?

      Perhaps there's a reason why some of us won't get too deep into mainstream social media platforms - a life of (relative) anonymity is nice. 🤣

    • I wonder if it's sometimes different if you stay in touch over the years. My father-in-law served in the Army where he and his wife bonded with other couples, and their incredibly close bonds have lasted for decades.

      Wow, I’ve been thinking about this a lot today because it cuts to the core of what makes a great relationship and how you maintain a strong bond over a lifetime of changes.

      I was reading this conversation

      and what stood out for me is that riding provides the perfect combination of a conversation-rich common interest with a norm of spending weekends and vacations together. It also lends itself to including family members on rides and camping, which creates a deep interconnected network and shared experiences.

      I’m not sure what the secret sauce is that kept those army family bonds strong over decades. I suspect that the multiple connections of each spouse created a stronger bond than if the only connection was between a couple army buddies.

      Our interests, personality and character are often developed by the people we spend the most of our time from our early twenties to our mid-forties, when all three become cemented. If my high school friend and I had reconnected a few years after college, instead of almost thirty years later, we probably would’ve been a closer resemblance of who we were and could’ve influenced each other’s evolution.

    • The best I've ever seen besides my father in law at bonds that last over the years, is @amacbean16 . As a teen, she made close high school friends and stayed bonded when they grew up and scattered across the country in completely different occupations. They get together more than 15 years later for physical reunions.

      She did it again with about 20 families who were grad students in the same apartments at Ohio State. They live all over the country and get together each year for a 4-day reunion.

    • Yeah, I feel like one of the lucky ones for sure.

      Interestingly, social media really hasn't been a factor in either set of long-term friendships. We don't really interact there (though some of my friends do keep in touch on Marco Polo and we aren't luddites by any means.)

      I think reconnecting before too many years go by is key, as is making new memories together rather than just reliving the old ones.

      The real secret to staying connected for us has been to be deliberate about it. We put it on the calendar and keep the commitment because it matters to all of us. Maybe the threshold for connecting on social media is just too low? Liking someone's photo or making a quick comment is just different from getting yourself in the same room as them, or at least clearing a chunk of time off your calendar for a good long talk on a regular basis.

      Here's most of our group this past September. We plan on the same weekend every year and vary the location. It's interesting to me that will have gone a whole year without talking to many of them and we'll show up and have another amazing weekend, picking up right where we left off and catching each other up on the past year.

    • I think you're on to something there. Some shared interests have more staying power than others and ones that can stretch to accommodate family and other life changes are golden.

    • I’m not sure what the secret sauce is that kept those army family bonds strong over decades. I suspect that the multiple connections of each spouse created a stronger bond than if the only connection was between a couple army buddies.

      Service to country.

      Knowing that everyone that wore a uniform (no matter what branch of service) would have your back, as you have theirs, in any situation.

      A couple of quick points on that...

      I was a military brat, so the first dozen years of my life was around that type of atmosphere. While living on the installation, even as a teen-aged dependent, you felt it and you knew it. When dad retired, he regained that camaraderie thru fraternal organizations he and my mom joined later in life.

      I went into the aerospace field...didn't have a chance to graduate, but they needed people that could do electronics work, so I took the test and got in on the first try. Our company had a policy of hiring veterans. That same atmosphere that was prevalent in the military was also felt at work...well, because what we built was for the military.

      Working for people that were senior enlisted and had over 20 years of knowledge and understanding was remarkable.

      Anyway, I think that's the answer.

    • I think reconnecting before too many years go by is key, as is making new memories together rather than just reliving the old ones.

      I wanted to let you know that after reading your post this morning, I was moved to email a couple friends who I’ve been in danger of losing touch with.

      Thank you

    • I received wonderful replies from both friends. With one of the friends, I had been remiss in not replying to her previous email from over a year and a half ago. You’ve definitely caused me to reflect on whether there are any other folks who are in need of reconnecting. And I think that’s part of the secret to being a “friend whisperer”: intention. It doesn’t help if making sure the garbage cans get dragged to the curb for trash day is a greater priority to remember than making sure connections stay strong.

      I have added calendar reminders to call or email them in a week.

    You've been invited!