Thursday, June 27, 2013

(Re)Connecting With Others Through the Internet

I received an email yesterday from someone who I'd not thought of in a long time. We met (virtually) when I worked for my first online job. We didn't work together for long - he is a physician who was a consultant - but we worked well together. It had been about 15 years or so since we last communicated when his name popped up in my email box. A lovely surprise.

As someone who isn't always the most confident of people, I'm always a bit amazed when others go out of their way to find me to get back in touch. Sometimes it's a person I knew from childhood, other times, an old colleague. It's a nice feeling to know that someone reached out, took the time to find me, for whatever reason.

The Internet gets a lot of bad publicity because of the ease with which it is used for bad stuff. People can and do use it to cause problems, commit crimes, and hurt others. But bad people will do bad things, no matter what is available. And the Internet is a tool - that's all it is. It can be a tool for bad, but it can also be a tool for good.

Think about the world it has opened for so many who might otherwise be isolated: the homebound young mom who can connect with other mothers for support and companionship and the lonely senior who can get online and join groups of like-minded people. The person who lives too far away from university but who is aching to learn can now enroll in online education. The voracious news junkies can read newspapers from around the world. Grandparents can Skype with their grandchildren who live across the country or on another continent. There are so many people who use the Internet to enrich their lives or just to help them get through their day-to-day existence.

To me, it's often about connecting - or reconnecting. The email I received from Jeff made me smile yesterday.  Have you ever reached out online to someone from your past? Is there someone who would smile if they saw an email or Facebook request from you?

1 comment:

Nirvana said...

Hi Marijke, I enjoy reading your blog & pass it on to friends. Re. your recent post about the internet, I was fearful too of "the bad people" but have made some magical connections from friends from bygone days which are mood-bending as they conjure up feelings of warmth and nostalgia. I'm just back from a symposium in Saratoga Springs on Creativity & Activism led by Jan Phillips. We were all artists, writers and musicians or close. One of the workshops by Suzi Banks Baum stressed the importance of using social media as a tool for change and that it was okay to celebrate your life online. Even though I do so as a Montreal art activist, I learned that there was so much more I could do. Her website is and mine Good wishes to you.