Making connections - through art and more. I often feel that although as a planet we're more connected (think email, social media, mobile phones, etc.), and I wonder how this has impacted our ability to truly make real connections...
Interestingly, I have been working solely online for the past 11+ years. I've worked (past tense, I was recently laid off) with an amazing group of graphic designers that I feel are some of the best friends I've ever made. We have met - all of us, at one time we used to meet once a year. This was during more prosperous times and I often wonder if those meetings formed the foundation of our friendships - but I don't think so, and here's why.
Because we worked online, we already had that online connection. Other than weekly work meetings (and often more), we all connected via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We texted, we chatted on the phone, we emailed - and we remained a very tight-knit group. I also have friends from previous jobs that I'm friends with - and if it weren't for social media, I wonder how much we'd be in touch.
I grew up with a very strong grandmother - the patriarch of the family, we did what she said. She emphasized a strong family bond over all else - 'keeping the family together' was very important to her and back then, it meant geographically. We could live elsewhere only if we continued to visit. She was a firm believer in the extended family and I was lucky enough to grow up that way - with my grandparents, my aunt and uncle (I only had one of each) and three cousins. I instilled this sense of family, I hope, into my children because there is nothing more precious than family, IMHO.
The Connected Family
Does social media play a big part in keeping my family connected? You bet. I think this is especially true with younger members - my daughters, niece and nephews. What I find amazing is that my nephew and his wife have triplets (that alone is an amazing statement, am I right?) but because of social media and photo sharing on phones, I feel like I know these 9 month old beauties - although I've never met them (which saddens me - I'll get there!). I know which one is which - and that's due to the power of social media.
I'm not sure that the new 'social media family' is an improvement on our more traditional 'extended families' or if you can even compare them. I do think this is the new norm, with people living in different places, different countries - and what used to be a painful wait for that beloved letter containing the writing that sent you running into the house, has now become a quick post on Facebook - there's no wait.
So I'm not against this highly connected world. It allows me to stay in touch with my family, my colleagues, ex-colleagues and make connections in a different way. But I do miss one thing - the wait for a letter or a phone call. Maybe this is more about instant connections versus the long wait for a letter or visit. I do think the anticipation was much more fun - something we're missing these days...