If you’re online this morning (and yes, it’s still morning in California), you may have heard the news that our fellow blogger and social media evangelist Thomas Peters is in critical condition following a tragic swimming accident (Elizabeth has details here). I hope you’ll join me in praying for his total healing, as well as for his family — including his lovely new bride — who are surely devastated by this turn of events.
I was thinking this morning while praying for Thomas about how real our connections can be — even those that are “virtual” connections. I have only met Thomas a handful of times “in real life”, and yet I consider him a colleague and friend. If you’re paying attention to Twitter today, you’ll see that I’m in good company. Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by the number of messages of support and prayer floating around from folks who are diametrically opposed to him on some important issues, and yet who took time to send up prayers.
Many folks disbelieve the power of the Internet to form true connections. I would argue that they are wrong. Sure, there are instances when we don’t portray ourselves honestly — I’m guilty of removing unflattering tagged photos or not posting on a day when my heart and my head aren’t in the right place. But how many of us are fed in mind, spirit and soul by friends we have never met in person? It’s funny, often when I meet an online friend or acquaintance in real life for the first time, there is an instant sense of familiarity — of kinship — that develops between us. I believe that’s because we already “know” one another, even though we’re meeting in person for the first time.
I would argue that while online relationships should never trump our real life family and friends, the connections we develop online have tremendous power. That is why — on a day like today when one of our own needs our love and support — we all feel pain and concern. It’s also why using the Internet and social media for good, for positivity, for real and lasting change should be our greatest goal each time we log on. If we don’t take advantage of these tools to make our world a better place, we are failing.
Please join me today in praying for Thom and his loved ones, as well as for all those out there who suffer and struggle in ways known only to God. May he hear our prayers, and send comfort and healing to his little ones.
Update: Please note that comments which are mean-spirited, hate-oriented or derogatory will be removed.