The Hope of Social Media

Social media has its detractors, but I, for one, appreciate its power to connect us in a way that the human race has never been connected before.Without Facebook, there are personal connections that I wouldn’t be able to maintain, simply due to my limited time and resources.With it, for instance, I am able to see pictures of my adorable baby cousins who live all over the country and haven’t had a chance to visit yet.

I am also able to reconnect with old friends (and their adorable babies) who I also cherish but rarely get to see in person.

I will always take a virtual connection over no connection at all.

In addition to staying closer to friends and family, Facebook afforded me an opportunity last year to send a long overdue apology.

While in Middle School in Philadelphia, I participated in a spate of bullying that I have been hotly ashamed of ever since. There was a girl in our class who my friends and I taunted until she cried.

We relocated to Rhode Island shortly after my plaid uniform-skirted reign of terror and the opportunity to make amends with said girl never presented itself.

I have felt deep remorse ever since.

Then, last year, I saw our victim’s name on Facebook through mutual friends.

I screwed up my courage and wrote to her telling her how terrible I had always felt about how we had treated her and that I wanted to whole-heartedly apologize for our actions.

I was not invested in what her response would be when I wrote.  If I had been, I probably would have lost my nerve.  I just knew that I needed to apologize.

Sometimes things just need to be said.  How they are received is secondary.

I felt it was imperative for me to go on record and take responsibility for being a bodacious “mean girl” in 1980.

So I was prepared not to hear back — fully understanding if she would want nothing to do with me.

In less than a day, I got a response… a lovely and graceful response telling me that she accepted my apology.  This completely humbled me.

She also let me know that her experience at our old school was not a positive one, but that hearing from me could go toward healing this part of her past.

This humbled me even more.

Honestly, I still have not absolved myself for my aberrant episode of cruelty in my youth, but I was honored that this lovely woman and I connected in such a meaningful way.

We shared something I did not expect: a sacred exchange.

Because the act of forgiveness is always sacred.

Even if it’s on Facebook.

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5 Responses to The Hope of Social Media

  1. Sandra says:

    so true. and although i feel mixed about 'the book' i am on it for those exact reasons. seeing my dutch cousins any time i want, albeit virtually, (as you so aptly put, remotely is better than the occasional christmas postcard) having a long lost co-worker send a message, connecting with those that formed the core of my life, and also those that added certain flavors and tones at various times is pretty cool and worth the downside. thanks alex. also, agree with marina – 'a sacred exchange'….beautiful.

  2. Lara says:

    I love this. Even though I think there is a side of facebook that is not positive at all, I totally agree with you about it's power, and for episodes like the one you shared, it goes beyond power and is actually just plain amazing. 🙂

  3. Gosh — thank you Mariana!

  4. mariana says:

    A sacred exchange – LOVELY.

Thank you for reading + commenting!