Saturday, January 09, 2010

Social Networking = Small Town Life

I have my days of despising technology and contemplating asking the Amish to adopt me; to get away from the speed and exhaustion and frequent pointless/wasteful aspects of 21st century life... but then I see something lovely that makes me glad I live in a time where I have a conduit like the Internet.

My friend TJ (to preserve her anonymity) had a car accident this week, and shared it on Facebook. Here is a transcript:

TJ: Funeral, then a visitation, then wrecked our pathfinder on the way home...praise God that the kids and I were not hurt.
Thu at 5:15pm

Amen! All Glory be to God for protecting His precious children. I praise God for your safety. We love you!
Thu at 5:16pm

Sorry to hear your news T...glad to hear that you guys are safe!!
Thu at 5:43pm

Oh no! I'm glad you guys are ok.
Thu at 5:47pm

Oh No!!! Thank God all of you were safe. Let me know if you need anything.
Thu at 5:51pm

Glad ya'll are okay!!! Did the weather influence the accident?
Thu at 7:22pm

So sorry...what happened?
Thu at 7:29pm

So sorry to hear about your accident but glad everyone is okay!!!
Thu at 7:43pm

TJ: Hit ice on our road and ended up going off the road, down the ditch and hit some trees that then spun me sideways. I totaled the for a new car again.
Thu at 8:00pm

WOW! So sorry and SO glad you are OK.
Thu at 8:24pm

Glad to hear that you and the little ones are okay, but so sorry about the car. I know that must of been scary. I'm praying for you.
Thu at 9:19pm

so thankful you are all ok!
Thu at 9:19pm

WOW. That truly sucks. Do you have some kind of transport in the meantime? let me know if you need some chauffeuring!
Thu at 10:26pm ·

Glad y'all are ok!! Now the pleasure of searching for a car. Love you!
Thu at 10:53pm

WOW! Glad you guys are ok. Double WOW!
Thu at 11:24pm

Sorry to hear that! We just got home too and man was it scary icy! Glad you and the kids are OK!
Yesterday at 12:02am

girl...sooooo happy that you guys are okay....sorry about the's a drag, I know.
Yesterday at 7:54am

Great to hear that you all are ok, T. We've got a very nice minivan we could sell you pretty cheap. It's real sporty in the only way minivans can be, and I am pretty sure I could talk M. into selling it!
Yesterday at 8:26am

TJ: D., may have to have you work on my neck. T., can you put sporty and minivan in the same sentence? We always seem to find cheaper vehicles in Clarksville, just don't want to make the drive.
Yesterday at 10:23am


TJ: Cool, my first of the car to come tomorrow.
Yesterday at 2:16pm

I thought you said you were ok! A concussion is not ok! I'm so sorry!!! Do you need any help?
Yesterday at 2:43pm

What in the world?? You really are hurt! How are the kids?
Yesterday at 2:46pm

TJ: Don't need help (although that's debatable). Mostly I just have some nausea and a little dizziness, it's mild, at least no pounding headache. The kids are fine, I just hit my head on the window at the end of my "ride". K., I might need a ride on Tuesday! :-)
Yesterday at 2:54pm

Wow, so sorry. Glad you are "okay." Let me know if I can help in some way.
Yesterday at 3:15pm

Well, there goes your football career.
Yesterday at 8:04pm

So sorry to hear about your accident! I hope you're going to be all right.
Yesterday at 8:58pm

Was it that bad? Were you by yourself?
Yesterday at 10:03pm

let me know if you need anything - transport, groceries, etc.!
4 hours ago ·

Y. saw the car... was surprised it was you..and I ditto what S. said.. let me know if you need anything.
about an hour ago

Here we have an instant response to a problem/need. 10 years ago, my friend would have had the car accident, and only a few people might ever know (if she happened to call them for assistance.) I should mention that this friend lives further out from town than anyone else I know. But now, by putting out this small but significant piece of news, the affection and support of her friends is made evident. The pleasure of offering assistance is made available to all of her friends, and she is encouraged by their concern and gladness for their safety.

In a small town, this sort of news might get around quickly, and the support of friends and neighbors gained by word of mouth. But since the development of the suburbs and their sprawl, the majority of people have become more isolated and lost the support of community life. Now through social networking on the internet, we seem to have regained a little of that community support. As long as it eventually translates into actual, face-to-face connections and tangible support, Facebook (frivolous and often inane as it is) is proving to be a benefit and a blessing.