If we are to believe all that we hear, social media is the root of all evil in modern society. There are some significant issues – cyber-bullying is a very real problem, and some of us certainly have a lot to learn about what to share or not share. But there are two sides to every story, and I want to talk about some of the positives I have experienced using Facebook in particular.
Of course you’ll be aware of the pixels2Pages Facebook page. I love the way we have been able to connect with our members all over the world, and share our pages and our stories. One of our very favourite things is seeing our “peeps” get together and meet IRL, as they say (in real life). Even if you never post on our page it’s a place where you can see real pages made by real people using Artisan, and hopefully getting some inspiration and ideas for your own pages.
In fact pixels2Pages itself wouldn’t have happened without Facebook, as most of the original p2P team “met” on Facebook long before we ever got to be together in the flesh.
As an ex-pat Facebook is a wonderful way to keep in touch with friends back home. I love that I can see who is having babies and grandbabies, getting married, going travelling, moving house. I love when people share movies & books they have loved, or not loved. Facebook helps ex-pats connect in a new country too. I belong to a number of local Doha Facebook groups which are the main source of information. Through Facebook I learn what’s on in town, which restaurants to try, how to get a car serviced, and which streets to avoid when the traffic is bad. When my hairdresser moved from his salon, I found him again through facebook. I have connected with women living in my neighbourhood through facebook. And when new friends leave Doha to their next assignment, facebook allows me to stay connected.
I want to tell you a story about a wonderful connection that would not have happened without Facebook. During 2016 Keith & I each visited Jordan separately on mission trips with our church, to work with refugees living in Jordan. A young woman (I’ll call her N) acted as interpreter for each of us at different times. She was from a small town in Iraq that had been destroyed by ISIS. N was a doctor, who had finished her final year and then escaped just in time. She was hoping to get a visa to come to Australia, where she had some relatives. We became Facebook friends, because I was interested to follow her progress. Late last year we learned that N had been granted asylum, together with her mother and her sister. We visited them in their new home, and were able to hear about what they are doing now and their hopes for the future.
We were thrilled to see them again, and thrilled that they were finally able to stop running and start planning a life. If it hadn’t been for social media, we would never have heard from N again. We would not have become “pen friends” or corresponded by letter or email. We would never have been able to track them down amongst the thousands of displaced people in the world. We wouldn’t have known they were in Sydney or where to locate them even if we did. And they wouldn’t have known that we were in Sydney then either.
So yes, Facebook and other forms of social media have their down sides, but I am so grateful that we got to cross paths with these inspirational women, who have suffered and endured and witnessed more in their lifetimes than I can imagine, and to see the hope in their eyes.