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January 17, 2010

Facebook Reconnections a Friendly Bonus

I am beginning to see the value of Facebook. Within the last 2 weeks I have had really enjoyable times with 3 people who, if not for Facebook, I wouldn't have connected with. Afterall, Facebook enables connectivity between people even when face-to-face connections are really tenuous.

In 1993 when I first got out of Journalism school, I got my first journalism job at The Royal City Record in New Westminster. The woman who hired me is above on the left. Pat is the editor of the community newspapers in New Westminster and Burnaby.  I worked for her on call for the Spring/Summer of 1993.

It just so happens that Pat lives with her partner on a floating home and at the time I was just getting involved with Mac who also lived on a floating home. The floating home communities where they lived are small and people know each other.

In fact, Pat's partner Janna, used to walk their dog and go for a walk with Mac with his dog on the dyke almost every day for a few years. The last time I saw Pat and Janna was November 1998. I remember it dinstinctly because I was standing in Mac's dilapidated living area on his float home. I was having an almost hysterical meltdown, crying, barely able to spit out the words, "Look at this place, no wonder he killed himself." Janna was trying to comfort me and Pat said something like, "It's not that bad."  We could all laugh at that now." At the time it was heartbrakingly painful to me and that memory is still one of the most vivid, still able to evoke a tinge of sorrow in my heartcentre as I think of it.

When Mac died, Pat and Janna adopted Mac's dog Molly whom he had adopted from the SPCA a few years earlier. Molly was this really gentle, beautiful, medium-sized, calico-coloured fluffy dog with the saddest brown eyes. Apparently, I found out today while being treated to breakfast by them, that Molly had a wonderful life with them living to a ripe old age and enjoying life on their many camping trips and walks by the river.

Pat saw me on Facebook because she is connected to someone else I know, a reporter, who works for The Vancouver Sun, also on my Facebook page. On Friday morning, I saw Pat's post that she was worried about the ferry's capability of dealing with Friday's winds and she couldn't wait to get to Salt Spring. When I read that I extended the invitiation to meet up with them for a coffee if they felt so inclined since they were going to be on island! 

We met this morning for breakfast at The Treehouse and I really enjoyed catching up. It was a true gabfest. Turns out the friend they are visiting lives less than a minute up the road from where I now live. They also own a cottage on the ocean in Newfoundland where they spend about 7 weeks in the summer. They bought that in 3 days on a cross-Canada trip a few years back where they pulled (Desi and Lucy Arnaz-style, a fifth wheel trailer). Check out the movie from 1954 The Long, Long Trailer, if you don't know what I'm talking about.

The other person that Facebook enabled the connection to was Byron, whom I'd met just once when he bought one of my photos at The Saturday Market.  He came back to Salt Spring over Christmas for another week-long silent retreat and we had lunch on New Year's Day. It's not like we keep in touch directly on an ongoing basis but it's nice to know that when he comes to Salt Spring he can always contact me and if we feel like it we can get together and enjoy each other's company.

Facebook really may transform virtual relationships into face-to-face interactions and that, for the most part, is the ultimate connection dontcha think?

What's your best Facebook re-connection/connection story? Leave a comment!


Susan Main said...

My best Facebook reconnection was the "punk rock reunion party" - all planned via Facebook last summer (2009). I saw people I hadn't seen for nearly 25 years and have kept in contact with many since then. It was a great connection in real life (I love the acronym "IRL") and also on Facebook, where so many important conversations have opened up. Like on New Years day, when a guy who does AA says "haha you suckers with hangovers!" and then a big debate breaks out re: is that too smug and should people be more compassionate?

I love Facebook and think it's one of the best social things to happen in decades. I wonder what the academics are saying about it... And what about Twitter? I love it too.

Gayle Mavor said...

That reunion sounds amazing. Facebook should have a section on "amazing Facebook" connection/reconnection stories. Thanks for sharing Susan.

flameonglass said...

I have never reconnected with anyone on Facebook but it is an absolute must for spying on your children!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful story! Glad to get back to reading your always fascinating blog. I must say, I would not have any idea what you or Susan Main were doing if it weren't for Facebook.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Harriet! Likewise. And, I would be so much lesser for it (without seeing that heavenly creature, Theo, who has found you and been "lent to you" (as Kahlil Gibran would say), now your son.