Why I'm Thankful for Social Media

Nov 2010
Photo credit: @leahbarden

Every year, in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, some of my friends and I vow to write one thing we’re thankful for in our Facebook status every day. This year, mine included ‘a husband who walks all the dogs when I get stressed out,’ ‘all the motivating, inspiring and downright smart people that I get to associate with in my professional life,’ and ‘celebrating at home after years of anchoring the news on the holiday.’

Writing those updates forced me to take a few minutes every day to think about what I was truly grateful for in my life. I hate to think of myself as selfish, or ungrateful – but I can honestly say that if I hadn’t had a blank status box staring at me, I might not have taken time to fully appreciate all the blessings in my life.

In addition to my own soul-searching, I got to hear about my friends’ blessings as well. They were grateful for ‘bodies healthy enough to go running,’ ‘snow and the promise of a good ski season,’ and ‘simple pleasures like naps.’

A good friend posted a video where he listed all the things in his life that made him happy. Dozens of people commented on that video, saying that it made them stop and take stock of their own happiness as well. And I felt like I knew him 10 times better after watching it.

Today, as the cornbread stuffing cools, the sweet potato soufflé bakes, and Stephen mixes up another Ramos gin fizz; my cell phone blinks happily with a steady stream of tweets and status updates. Snapshots of sweaty friends after the ‘Turkey Trot,” Thanksgiving feasts, laid out on linen tablecloths, and large Christmas trees being carted into living rooms. There are updates about sharing the holiday with friends and family, missing those who were far away, and sending wishes for health and happiness for everyone. Even my parents made a video back in Georgia, filming everyone around the table singing ‘we wish you a happy Thanksgiving.’ I posted my own video, of course, of the dogs trying to steal food off the table, and Stephen carving the ‘tofurkey.’ (That’s what vegetarians eat on Thanksgiving 😉

And even though we are far away from our families this year, tucked into our little condo with the dogs, I have never felt closer to all the people in my life. It’s as if we’re sharing Thanksgiving with each and every one of them. Social Media did that. And I think it’s pretty amazing.

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