Yesterday, I was editing a post on BlogHer, a cautionary tale on using images on your blog. (Uh, if you haven't read what happened to this blogger, you really should. Because I see illegally used images on your blogs all the time when I'm reading. Please be careful. And kind.) I squinted at the name of the artist whose image had been stolen: Marian Osher. She was my childhood art teacher.
I used to take art classes in her basement, carrying my supplies in an orange Nike box.
I think of her studio every time I see a kneaded eraser.
I followed the writer's link to Marian's website, and contacted her via email to send her a much belated thank you note for those childhood art classes. It had been over 30 years since I first walked down her basement steps. Isn't that crazy? To suddenly see her name pop up in a BlogHer article?
A few years ago, I got a friend request on Facebook from a blogger. When I looked at our mutual friends, I saw my cousin's name pop up on her list. I wrote the blogger to ask how they knew each other, and she wrote me back that she had just written Tam to ask how we knew each other. And the world became a little smaller.
I'm sure there have been strange overlaps prior to this point. Connections that we didn't know existed between two people and a mutual third. But Facebook spelled it out: it's a small world. Honestly, the smallness of it isn't always comfortable.
One time, I was standing at a BlogHer party (yes, I went into Sparklecorn for a whole 10 minutes!) when a woman came up to me and said, "you look so familiar." We started playing Jewish geography, and it turned out that we had gone to sleepaway camp together. Our cabins had been next to one another. I once kicked her soccer ball down the hill on purpose.
We reconnected and have been friends since. (Hi, Jodi!)
A man started following me on Twitter a few months ago. He came over from a tech post that I wrote for an online magazine, and he effusively tweeted how much he loved it. I recognized him immediately: he was the husband of a woman I haven't seen or spoken to in over 10 years because she is pure evil. Like totally distilled, absolutely pure evil. He clearly had no clue who I was or that I had ever crossed paths with his evil wife. Did I mention that she's evil?
On the other hand, many years ago, a woman started following me on Twitter, and she turned out to be a long-lost high school friend who hadn't recognize me at first. I only knew who she was because she had an unusual name. We ended up meeting for tapas and catching up.
So it works both ways.
What is the point of all of this? Nothing except to marvel at the way connections unravel from a yarn web. We all have stories like this from social media. What is yours?
Image: Michael Mol via Flickr