On the Unexpected Beauty of Social Media
This week is a hard week in the life of V, as many of you know. I lost my favorite uncle over the weekend after a two-year battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). I was very close to my uncle; he taught me so much about my family’s Greek roots, shared our family crest—which had never before been revealed to me—and even showed me our patriarchal properties in the beautiful Peloponnese. We went to fundraisers and dinners together, and whenever he needed information, I was his Internet go-to girl. To say I will miss him is an understatement. It is a palpable loss on so many levels.
Naturally, because of this turn of events, my mind and heart are not on fashion blogging this week. But I have learned over these years of blogging that unexplained silence is bewildering, and even worrisome for dedicated readers. So I sent out a tweet and put a post on the G&G Facebook page to explain why I may be quiet this week.
As a blogger, I’ve made a conscious decision to keep my personal life as private as possible. I share my thoughts on fashion and blogging, but not much about my life, relationships, etc. And yet here I am blogging about something very personal. Why? Well, because of…
YOU: Reader. Commenter. Supporter. Friend.
As soon as I sent out that tweet, so many of you reached out, sending me direct messages and tweets of support and sympathy. I was floored. And touched. And honored that you would take the time to write me words of encouragement.
I want you to know how grateful I am for your messages and friendship. Because I do not share my personal life on the blog, you haven’t known about the betrayal I’ve experienced at the hands of very, very, close family members, about the discovery of deception in even the most holy of places. For a Greek girl from a tight-knit family, this is not only a shock to my core beliefs, it’s a chokingly difficult pill to swallow. Now, I do not divulge these things for sympathy, but only to tell you this:
I have learned that “family” isn’t defined by DNA, it’s defined by love.
When I posted messages on both G&G and my personal Facebook pages, the outpouring of support by all of you was incredible. And it also made me hyperaware that on top of the drama already playing out in my “family,” virtually none of my actual blood relatives bothered to respond. I was always taught that you stick by your family no matter what—and I have, only to learn that loyalty is not always reciprocal.
This is what I know for sure: what I’ve lost this last year at the hands of my “family,” I have gained in you—a loving family of readers and friends. A network of support, kindness, and compassion. That is family.
Fans and Followers: A Modern Family
When I started blogging, I never, ever expected, well…this. I suppose I thought it would always be me in a room with my thoughts. It took me a good three years to learn that I’d get a lot more out of all of it if I actually interacted with others. And once I did, the conversations and contributors grew and grew, first on the blog, then on Twitter, and eventually on Facebook. We’ve chatted about fashion and shoes and blogging and such, and I know I’ve written words of encouragement to others, but it wasn’t until this week that I felt the full impact of social media on a personal level.
Social media—blogs/Twitter/Facebook—is a new paradigm of belonging, a new way for us to cultivate friendships and interact with others. Sure, most of us have never met, but this community, this connectedness is no less poignant or powerful. We stick together, you and me. We do what we can for one another, even from afar. And you’ve not only been there for me, but Casee Marie, Steph, Suze, and Yvonne.
Our fans and followers in social media aren’t just numbers—they are real people and an invaluable source of inspiration, encouragement, networking, and friendship. That’s why interacting with others (and not just amassing comments and followers) is so important. Give and you will receive. When you least expect it and most likely need it.
Yes, we are fashion bloggers. Yes, we try to keep it light and positive. But when life has given some of us lemons, we all helped make the lemonade, toasted with a resounding, “Here, here!” then turned our glasses up.
That my friends, is the unexpected beauty of social media. Know that when I say my final goodbye to my beloved uncle today, I carry your words of comfort in my heart.
Thanks to all of you for your kind messages…
My prayers are with you and your family!
xo to you, dear V. I am sorry for your loss. -Bella
Vahni, Im so sorry to hear about your loss. Big cyber space hugs coming your way. xxx
Vahni, my deepest condolences. The sad truth? I have lost an uncle this weekend as well. I really feel with you. Life is bitter sometimes.
Sorry Vahni. It’s no fun losing a beloved relative. Sending love your way.
So terribly sorry to hear about your uncle. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
Oh my gawsh, so sad. So sorry for your loss, V. Reminds me to value the people in my life. Bests to you and your family.