Thursday, May 6, 2010

All the World's a Small Town




All things Internet.

Are there really any "big cities" anymore?

Not the way I see it.

Today, I "spoke" with friends in Illinois, Virginia, Colorado, Maine, and California. And it's only 12:30. We "chatted" via facebook. We "caught up" via my blogs.

At the same time, folks from other states, including right here in PA, were also checking in with me - whether I knew it or not - by following those very conversations on Facebook, or catching up on a cuppa here at Cuppa Jo or Cuppa Fit.  In a warped sense, we were all in the same place at the same time today, with the only separation being physical distance.

In a small town, it seems as if everyone knows everyone and everyone's business.  Sure, this can be awkward, but it worked to my advantage Monday night when Harper broke her arm.  In two places.  Once we got settled in the ER, I recalled a conversation about orthopods that I had just had at my monthly book club gathering a week prior.  Quickly, I sent a text to a friend, asking her for the number of Harper's running coach (also a friend of this friend) whose husband happens to be an orthopedic surgeon - which I first learned through that book club conversation. 

Yeah, that was a tad bit confusing.  Just think back to that Breck Shampoo commercial and you'll be OK. Don't hurt yourself doing the math.

Wouldn't you know that the concerned doc, with the concerned running coach wife, logged on to the hospital's system and viewed her x-rays for me.

Next, I sent a photo of her x-ray via text message to another Dr. friend that we know, as well as to a third friend whose brother is an orthopedic surgeon.  She, in turn, forwarded it to him.

All three surgeons looked at the x-ray and gave me immediate advice, agreeing that she should be sedated, the bone set, and her arm cast immediately, due to the angularity (?) of the break - same course of action as I heard in the hospital (but it never hurts to get 3 more opinions.  Right?).

Interestingly enough, all three surgeons were scattered throughout different cities.

A quick status update on Facebook yielded over 30 well wishes to my pipsqueak with the broken limb, and led a few visitors straight away to the ER to cheer her up.

Feels just like a small town.

I realize that many are opposed to social media shenanigans, stating that FB, twitter, and even blogging tend to ruin one's ability to communicate verbally with others.  And indeed I respect that argument, as I have certainly experienced an overwhelming decline in both young adults (and adults) who are able/willing to address tough/uncomfortable situations in person, rather than relying upon email, FB message, or voice mail.

Boy, if I had a nickel for every time I said, "No, don't email them.  Call them.  Or sit down with them.  Talk it out." . . . .

Believe me, speaking as someone who communicates quite comfortably by means of the written word, this is advice that even I must heed.  Recently, after reading a comment on FB that I found particularly rude, I struggled to reply.  My fingers were itching to write a response, so I wrote a draft of what I wanted to "say".  In the end, I chalked up the harsh nature of the comment to the world of FB, where the speed of typing fingers tends to overtake discretion and chose to just delete the thread and let it go.

It wasn't an easy decision.

And yet, even with situations like that, whether I'm the one misinterpreting what someone else has written, or vice versa, blogging and FB have made my world richer.  And, well, smaller.

It has allowed me to "chat" with far away friends, to share my opinions, goals, and desires, (while also hearing about the needs of others), and has helped me stay connected with the "big world" by means of creating a smaller cyber-town of 300 or so people.

Similar to a small town, where word that your daughter had a bummer of a night spreads like a California wildfire, (and you return home from hours at the ER to find cookies on your doorstep), with social media, all the world is in the know.  Depending on what I choose to share.

And share I do.

Next month, I will cease calling myself "the new girl in town", the title of my pieces in The Bridge, for I have gotten to know so many new friends here in Beaver. Many know me from meeting me first hand. But others know me from reading The Bridge, and this blog, and then bumping into me at the bank, or tennis court and realizing that I'm the writer of those pieces.

So, just as you might knock on my front door to catch a chat on the porch, or grab a cup of coffee with me, know that what you read here, or on FB, is the real me:  A Jesus-lovin', coffee-slugging, exercising, cosmetic-selling, book reading, opinionated, somewhat mouthy and oh, so, transparent, woman, wife, and mother, who is flattered that you even find Cuppa Jo worthy enough to come visit.

We may not always agree, but at the very least, what you READ is what you get.

Thanks for being my neighbor - whether here in the city of Beaver, or my cyber-city.  For to me, they are one in the same.


dromain67 said...

Howdy, neighbor...

- Danny from Evanston

Debbie Legg said...

So true. So cool. Love it. :)

Stace said...

Very well "spoken"! This new "little world" we live in can play a roll in the break-up of marriages and ALSO enables two great friends of my to head towards marriage despite their distance! It's heartbreaking for someone to 'say' something they wouldn't say IN PERSON, though. Disappointing at the least and evil at it's worst.