The Magic of Social Media

From "Voices of the Storm" by Jesse Chambers of b metro

Alabama’s recovery has been marked by the use of social media to help spread information about donation drops and volunteer activities, and by the breaking down of race and class barriers among those trying to help. Another barrier was broken by Toomer’s for Tuscaloosa, a group of Auburn fans who put aside the ’Bama-Auburn football rivalry to help Tuscaloosa’s storm victims. Toomer’s began as a Facebook page that quickly went viral and has over 80,000 followers. One of the people who volunteered to assist in Toomer’s social media efforts was Lisa Michitti Cross of Birmingham, an art teacher at the University of Montevallo. Cross is the perfect person to take part, since she attended grad school at the University of Alabama but also teaches art in Auburn University’s Prison Education program. Cross started the group’s Twitter feed. She discusses the importance of social media during this event:
For me personally, it is an immediate sense of connection, of what one person needs and what one person can give, and it’s happened en masse. No red tape, just people connecting to people. [It’s] the magic of social media. In a funny way, people feel that the Internet has sort of ended personal relationships. This is an example of that not being true. I live in East Lake, and I lost four 50-year-old trees and lost power. It was out until Monday, and I was staying with other people. Not being able to go to the affected areas led me to being on my computer to help people who were on the ground. I can’t go to Tuscaloosa, but I can be on my computer and help people there. It was a sense of connection.

 The whole b metro "Voices of the Storm" story is a moving read:
When the tornadoes of April 27 hit our state and region, the conversation of the city changed. The storms were all we could talk about—the devastation, the sorrow, the miracles of recovery, redemption and hope. We decided the best way to capture the drama and meaning of those fateful hours would be to listen in on the thoughts, feelings and words of the people who lived the experience…victims, rescuers and the volunteers assisting in the recovery that has only just begun.

In a world of clamor and noise, we can be tempted to deride the rise of social networking and modern modes of connection as artificial and contrived, albeit sometimes used negatively and morally inept. In times of tragedy and desperation though, as we have seen recently in devastating natural disasters, it can be an amazing source of information and means of communication, as long as we never lose the human touch behind it, as well as using caution, wisdom and discernment to avoid its pitfalls. Through social media I have made connections with genuinely real people that have enriched my life. I am honored to be featured by Glen Asbury this week as his Twitter Personality of the Week #39: 10 questions for Amy Smith.

You are my refuge. You are my strength...You are faithful God forever...



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