Facebook is the new home town gazette. Think back to the newspapers of old. The hometown newspaper heralded births, funerals, daily events, lost cats, things wanted, things for sale, accomplishments and failures. It was the place everyone went to find out about life around them, the people within their reach. It was the true definition of “local” – stitching together all that really matters to us, the things that make us human.
Each morning I awaken and open up to the people I love and what they are thinking and doing. I learn something about them, share a piece of myself, and cherish the bridge that still exists. As I begin my day, I choose to spend the first moments connecting with my friends across the globe, to spend time with them and learn a little about their lives and struggles, their joys and fears.
This morning, a friend from high school living in Saudi Arabia shared pictures of sunny beach yoga. A dear friend had a milestone birthday and another showed off her baby bump. In England, a buddy had a birthday breakfast with his mum who turned 94. I was a fly on the wall browsing through photos of my BFF and her hubby’s adventure in Hollywood at last weekend’s Oscars gala. From down the road, another creative friend posted photos of her newest tie dyed creation. Someone died, another was born.
That’s how social media works. It brings the news of the day about the folks within our network. This is how I use it. This is how I can connect with people I care about that aren’t easily within my reach. The key is to engage each other, sharing lives, sharing stories. We are participating in the new hometown newspaper, what has become the next evolution of the information age.
The corporatization of the media ended the hometown newspaper to explore the world beyond the city limits. They sold out and news became homogenized like milk, the flavor the same as any other carton on the shelf. Because of this, we’ve lost the connection to our neighbors and the news that truly matters, threatening our tribal interconnectedness and how we support each other. The fact is, what we do matters to each other.
By using social media effectively, we can engage like-minded people and create our own entertainment and information channel. We can turn off what doesn’t resonate, choose our connections, interact with our environment in new ways. The new hometown gazette has evolved into more than a rolled up sheet of paper. It reflects who we are in a profound and surprising way and holds an immense power. When we share pieces of our lives with each other, we can choose to enhance our relationships and collectively change our world.