I changed my mind and decided to continue our discussion about on-line communities today instead of waiting until after this series is complete. I feel like yesterday’s post was incomplete after I hit the publish button so I will continue the discussion through several examples of how my on-line relationships started and how they are working out:
I have “met” many people on-line and a tiny few have become my friends in the “real” world. One of those friends is my sweet partner-in-crime (PIC), Dasha. We found each other on Okinawa Hai and started chatting and following each other on our personal blogs. I found out that she was attending the same church as we were and after many months of getting to know each other through our blog posts, we finally “met” at church one day. And we have been friends ever since. We had the sweet privilege of both writing for Okinawa Hai after meeting, which just sealed our friendship even further. She is a fellow Marine spouse; animal-lover; foodie; and lover of Jesus. She is also awful at directions; flies by the seat of her pants; and is great at checking in via text when she hasn’t heard from me. My hope is one day that God will bless us by allowing us to live under the same state flag. Until then, we stay in touch more on Facebook than anywhere else and we try to include each other in our travel plans whenever we can. She met me in Dallas once for a women’s conference; she came to visit me on Oahu; and I see her every time I am in the So Cal area.
I met Pamela via our blogs while also living in Okinawa and God used this relationship to connect me with one of Pamela’s friends. This friend’s daughter, who was a young Marine spouse, was moving to Okinawa while I was still living there and Pamela asked if I would reach out and welcome her. And I did. Pamela and I have tried to meet twice so far and though it has not worked out we stay in touch via Facebook and Pamela and I do live under the same state flag so I trust that God will connect us, in person, one day. Becky, the young Marine Spouse, is a faithful viewer on my daily Periscopes and we stay connected via Facebook as well.
I have become friends with several ladies via this 31 Day Writing series – Melissa Haag being one of them. Melissa is also a faithful viewer on Periscope and we are friends via Facebook as well. I love how God has woven our relationship together since “meeting” for the first time during last year’s writing challenge – all on-line.
Speaking of Periscope – I am building the Gr8tful Tribe through my daily broadcasts and it has been fun to get to know several of my faithful viewers via this new social media platform. One such pair are Bart and Nicki who have started a sweet ministry called Reverse The Hurt (@Reverse_Hurt). I have enjoyed getting to know them as a family through their broadcasts as well. And now we have several friends in common, because of our @WNOPTribe Periscope broadcasts and Bart is one of our biggest supporters.
Women’s Night of Prayer (WNOPTribe) started as a local event in our area and has gone global because of the internet. We meet daily (@WNOPTribe) at 6 a.m. CST to pray together and while we have a huge base of local people who jump on every morning we have also been blessed by many faithful viewers from all over the world – to include the U.K.; some Asian countries; and even Pakistan.
I am also a part of the Social Media team for a one year old ministry called Planting Roots (@PlantingRoots1) and I only know two of the team of 21 personally. Everyone else I am getting to know via our FB groups; our FB page; and via Periscope now. At Planting Roots our mission is to encourage both female spouses married to active duty or retired military members and active duty female military members.
One last, fun relationship I am enjoying is with my sweet friend Rebecca Y. She only knew me as Gr8tful Chick for the longest time. She came up to me at church one day and asked if I was Gr8tful Chick since she had seen me post a lot on mutual friends’ pages. She made me feel like a celebrity and she continues to make me smile every time I see her at church; on Facebook; and at the few lunch dates we have had. I love how faithful she is at praying for me even though we have only been friends for such a short time and we mostly see each other via Facebook. I could go on and on but I think you get the point I am trying to make.
As you can see, the few examples that I have shared proves that when used in a positive way, social media is a great way to meet people. It is also a great way to connect with other people’s friends and actually see the members of your church when you don’t attend the same service on Sundays. One of my friends, Laura G., has said how much she appreciates my daily Periscopes because she feels more connected to me since she started watching my Tip of the Day broadcasts @Gr8tfulChickRis.
It’s comments like that which keep me coming back to social media every day because I know I am making an impact and accomplishing my calling – to take back the internet in the name of Jesus and encouraging my sweet friends! This is why I put up with the garbage that is all over every social media platform. Because if those of us who are making a positive difference via the World Wide Web left than who would still be around to point the lost to Jesus?
Let’s all be a force for GOOD and take back social media and impact the world for Christ!!!!
How has social media helped you do community well?