Connect, Don’t Disconnect, on Social Media
Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about loneliness and isolation. And I got to thinking about social media. We’re all on at least one or more platforms, right? But how often do you hear about people connecting through social media, even though it’s supposed to be social? More often, you hear about how everyone is becoming more isolated.
A Stranger is a Friend You Haven’t Met
Recently, I traveled to Japan, and met a couple of people that I knew only through our social media connections. I knew a few people in Japan–mostly relatives–and have been tweeting or posting along with others. So I thought “why not try to meet some people in real life?”
Shinjuku and Flowers
The first person I met was Chiaki F, who I’ve known since forever on Twitter. We met for coffee in Shinjuku. Since we ended up hitting it off, we went shopping together, and ended up talking for hours! It was such fun to meet her, even though we’d already done some of the work on Twitter and Instagram. And now, when I see her flower posts on Instagram or Twitter, I really understand where she’s coming from. Flowers are a big deal in Japan. So when the cherry blossoms bloom, for instance, everyone gets involved and goes to where the blossoms are. I can’t imagine people here in the United States having the same reaction to beautiful trees–although I wish they would! There are also wisterias, azaleas, and autumn leaves which are also a huge deal.
Kimonos and Tea
The next person I met was Mizuho. We crossed paths in a more roundabout way. I’m part of a Facebook group, and a friend of hers had posted about the beautiful kimonos her mother had left her. I took my mother to meet her at her studio, and we had tea and osembe (Japanese crackers), which is always a winning combination. And I purchased an antique kimono from her. I really loved hearing her stories about her life in the U.S. It turns out that Mizuho had been to Santa Cruz, and had also studied in Colorado. Such a small world! We have been connected on Instagram, and sometimes use the same hashtags there.
Follow the Hashtags!
If you’re traveling, and have the opportunity to meet someone in real life that you’ve only known through social media, I strongly recommend connecting with them. And although you may be following local hashtags, you might want to begin following the hashtags of the places you are going to visit before you get there. So for me, those might be #Tokyo, #Japan, and so on. Where do you plan to visit? Leave me a comment, please!
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Author: Carol Stephen