Using Technology to Build Community

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Technology often gets a bad rap in terms of taking us away from those we love.

Don’t get me wrong. I know first hand that technology can be a huge distraction from being present (in fact, I may have been reminded of as much by a dear friend during my 40th birthday weekend celebration), but there’s been a lot written on the “evils of technology.”

So, in this post, I’d like to offer the start of a different story, a story from another perspective.

I want to talk a little bit about how technology has allowed me to build a personal and professional community beyond distance, space and time.

The last week has been a tough one, as I’ve been dealing with all that’s been happening politically in the United States. It’s also been tough professionally, in dealing with a situation at work.

Plus, honestly, life is tough being an academic mother every day.

But, my social media community often offers me faith, grace, hope and a space of community when I only have a moment and access to the internet, and when I’m stressed to the gills. They totally came through for me in this last week.  My community offered resources that I couldn’t think of when I was tired and stressed.  My community offered kindness when I felt like I just couldn’t understand why things were the way they were. They empathized and reflected. They cared and followed up.

It’s not all roses. Sometimes my community tell me hard truths. Sometimes they correct me. Sometimes they don’t get me.  But, more often than not, my virtual community helps to connect me when I feel completely disconnected. And when I see those people I’m connected with on social media in person, they check-in because they already know without me having to relive the things I’m struggling with.

I’m a work in progress in terms of using technology productively, rather than letting technology run the show in my life, but today, I’m grateful, because technology affords me community, reminds me to reach out, and shows me that I’m not alone.