Social Media and the Roll It Has Played On The Relationship With Our Distant Relatives

Kelly and David

Cousins

While I was researching and writing about the plight of Longhorn Mountain I sat in amazement once again at the power of social media.  A friend of a friends’ friend had contacted me through a private message on Facebook. He had read my story and went online to sign my petition.

He said he was shocked and excited when he saw the name “Mace” associated with the petition and felt compelled to contact me. He asked if he might be related to my husband and went on to tell me about his grandparents and great grandparents. He spoke of the original Mace homestead and where it was located. As I replied I couldn’t help but get a feeling of excitement, you know the one, it starts in your belly and works its way up to an all out giggle? I wrote back ” Um…we LIVE in your great grandfathers home, the one he built for your great grandmother after she had been bitten by a rat in the dug-out (or soddie) they lived in and refused to go back.”

We exchanged several private messages and made plans for him to come to Oklahoma so he could visit some of his family’s original farms and visit his great grandfathers’ homestead. As David and I were driving to meet him for breakfast we began to discuss how, when we were growing up, families would get together once a year, usually during the summer, for a family reunion. All the cousins would play together as the adults sat around and reminisced when they were young how they would play.  I asked why we don’t get together anymore and David said all the adults were growing old or dying and the younger generation wasn’t interested in it anymore. They were too caught up in their Facebook pages and updating their status.

It was then I realized that Facebook is really just an online reunion for many. I have started “talking” with classmates I haven’t seen in years, corresponding with cousins that I haven’t seen since growing up and moving away from my hometown. I’m able to catch up with them through their Facebook status updates; see photos of their children all grown up and having children of their own. There is no way I would have been able to do this without this social media sight. I have met cousins I didn’t even know I had and found new friends through the sight as well.  As I’m out in the community someone will come up to me and say “We are friends on Facebook!” I ask their name and then I recall some story they just posted or some photo of a child or pet that they uploaded. It’s like we’ve been friends for a long time.

So for those haters of these social media sights I say “give them a try!” You never know what lost friend, relative or love you might just run into on your newsfeed.

If you would like to read more about Longhorn Mountain and would like to support our efforts to save it, you can sign my petition HERE

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