Every year my school friends and I celebrate the Christmas season together. We gather at one of our houses, exchange gifts, eat great food, partake in too much prosecco, and catch up on what has been going on since the last time we were all together. A few years ago, we decided to adopt a Thanksgiving tradition and go around the table at dinner and say what we were thankful for. There was an uproarious laugh and much mocking when one of my friends earnestly said, "I am thankful for social media." But once we gave her a chance to explain herself, we realized that this statement rang true for all of us.
One of our group lives in Denmark and couldn't join us that year: she had just FaceTimed in and announced that she was pregnant. Instagram gives us regular snapshots into each other's lives: the travel pictures, the baby pictures, the birthday parties, the sweaty gym selfies. We have a What'sApp group where we share news, celebrate, commiserate, vent, or just tell a story that we know nobody else will appreciate.
Today I am thankful for social media. What'sApp allowed my friend to share a picture of her son taking his first bath (same friend, new baby!) Instagram showed me that another friend had a lovely picnic lunch in sunny Cambridge. And FaceTime allowed my husband to sing "row row row" to our daughter from hundreds of miles away.