I am a self-proclaimed social media junkie. Regardless of oftentimes harsh criticism of this ever emerging form of communication, social media – mostly Facebook and blogs – has served me well.
My introduction to the magic of social media came about a year after my third son was born. Beginning in 2003 with a small online forum, I was able to connect with a group of parents of children who shared my then-infant son’s rare (1 in 250,000 live births) orthopedic impairment for which he underwent a below knee amputation at the age of 11 in 2014. With the emergence of Facebook, our group with members on all continents “graduated” to a Facebook page where we easily and discreetly shared our experiences, exchanged information and most importantly supported one another. Today, four months before that “baby” whose future seemed so uncertain then is off to college in a different country, the group continues to grow and thrive, providing a lifeline of support for parents of young children desperately searching for someone who has “been there”.
Soon afterwards, I expanded to posting, blogging and reading about the many and varied subjects that strengthened my sense of purpose: progressive Zionism, Jewish – Arab relations, the pursuit of increased equality in Israeli society and of course disability rights and the power of disabled sports within and beyond the Israeli context.
Through this virtual world, I’ve supplemented my circle of off-line friends in marvelous ways and encountered people and perspectives that would otherwise would never have been accessible to me. My online friends’ group crosses communities, religions, ethnicities, political leanings, and of course geographic borders. My Facebook feed and blogs focused on what I considered to be issues of significance beyond the pettiness that I often encountered in middle class suburbia.
Today, we are a little over a month into this surreal COVID 19 crisis which is probably the most significant historical event of my children’s lifetimes to date and my Facebook feed looks like it’s been hijacked by a shallow mirror image of myself.
While I do occasionally slip in a more meaningful post, for the first time since discovering social media, I find myself uploading picture after picture of our new puppy, our cute older dog, my son’s culinary adventures, the consequent family meals and other quite mundane activities.
I feel weirdly guilty for largely ignoring the woes of the world but I am simply overwhelmed with information and stimuli – true, fake and in between.
I understand that the world is upside down and people are suffering greatly. My “lighter” posts are by no means meant to lessen the horror, but rather, to reflect my immense need to achieve some sense of normalcy in an insane reality. I am also making an assumption that some of my friends, on and off line, near and far, share my need to reminisce about, recreate or hope for a simpler time where the triviality of posts about puppies and pizza represent the ordinary.
So, in the meantime, enjoy the cuteness while we come together, albeit separately, to pray for health, healing and a better post-COVID 19 world to bequest to our children.