We want to shout about a birth into the heavens. We want to place the face of someone we’ve lost in the stars. We want people to know.
These moving words were tweeted from the New York Times’ Opinion Twitter today. They really sucked me in. They spoke to something I really understood. But this isn’t the full quote that NYT Opinion tweeted. These words came from a piece by NPR’s Scott Simon that reflect on tweeting from his mother’s deathbed two years ago and capturing so many eyeballs and hearts along the way.
If you’re like me, you wouldn’t expect the first poignant sentences to be referring to something that can seem as trivial as tweeting. But it was: “Social media has become the first line of our utterly human response.” That’s the next sentence.
As we looked at social media’s “good side” in class on Thursday, I figured I’d continue that conversation.
We all have those moments where our faith in the Internet is restored. To me, in those moments, I really mean that my faith in humanity is restored. That’s because the online world is a reflection of us — one that’s becoming more and more accurate as the Internet is accessible to and used by a variety of generations from different corners of the world.
The world and those in it can seem harsh and ugly, and the Internet magnifies that. It does the same to humanity’s honest, creative, brave and beautiful bits.
One of the moments where hope was given to me through the web was when I, two years ago, noticed Scott’s Twitter feed. The Storify at the end of this article lays out all of them. Even rereading them just now, I got butterflies. Below is one of my favorites.
As Scott reflects, he reminds us that what happened those couple of days was just another way to share experiences through Twitter — or any global digital platform. He acknowledges that those moments are mixed in with the mundane, the light-hearted, the serious, the hateful, the everything.
And he confirms that he does not regret broadcasting those final private moments of his mother’s life. I don’t think I would either.
Accepting the digital world as an extension of ourselves makes it easier to understand and appreciate it in all its flaws and beauty. And it makes it possible to participate and share our human experience with each other in ways we never thought possible.
We will see more of the “good” of the Internet the more we share. The more we use it as “the first line of our utterly human response.”