365 Things to Look Forward to — Number 27: Shared Photographs

27. Shared Photographs

A bunch of classmates from high school held a reunion in San Francisco over the weekend. If I had the money, I would have gone, but since I didn’t, all I could do was wait for photographs of the occasion to be posted on Facebook.

What would we do without social networking sites like Facebook? Even before I left the Philippines I was sorely out of touch with anyone from the past, except those I saw or bumped into on occasion, simply because they worked or lived in the same area that I did. Everyone just got out of touch, dropped out of site, dropped out of your life, and all you had were memories of those very brief years spent together.

Thanks to Yahoo! groups, I had a great way of keeping in touch with former classmates, who posted updates, messages, and photos as the years went by. Even if I wasn’t very active in the groups, only very rarely posting a message, I was able to keep up with what was happening to the more active members of the batch. Little by little, the group was built until we had nearly everyone in it, so we are now able to follow what is happening in each other’s lives.

Then came Facebook. The level of “personal” among friends is so much greater. You can see photos from all your friends’ albums and see how they look after so many years, see what they’ve been doing. You can send quick messages, respond to comments or posts, send birthday greetings because a calendar reminds you when your friends’ birthdays are, and share whatever you want.

Through shared photographs, I follow my friends’ lives and vicariously experience whatever they are going through that they choose to post. At first, I was a silent, reluctant user, but since I started “befriending” people I already knew from the past, I have found that there are really so many I know—and don’t know. People I was in close contact with had disappeared for several years, but now I am able to see how they are doing, what they are doing. People I wanted to be in contact with for the longest time, but had no real way to be in touch with on a daily basis, I can now simply send a message or chat with them whenever I feel like it. And then, it feels like time hasn’t really passed at all, like we haven’t really parted ways, because it really is one big social network. And I can share their photographs and share my photographs with them. I marvel at how some have changed…or haven’t changed. I marvel at their children, their homes, their activities. I laugh with them at amusing photographs. I commiserate with tragedies or low moments. I am inspired by the lives they live, by their joie de vivre, by their energy and their accomplishments. And because I know there are some who do appreciate what I do, I post my own photographs and look forward to those comments because all that sharing is food for the soul!

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