How close are we from afar?

What if the fun suddenly stops on social media networks and a strange reality takes over? What if we are confronted with personal tragedy? Maybe even death? Not of a celebrity or someone we don’t know. No, someone we meet on the internet every day.

This sounds theoretical to you? Then, step into my shoes. Get into my coat. For a moment pretend you are me…


There is this twittermate of mine. The distance between us is a continent and an ocean, the gap between timezones. Yet we see each other every day. We comment on each others tweets, we sometimes even discuss at length. And of course, there have been some direct messages.

I am used to her being there at certain hours, to seeing her share information and sometimes her anger. I know close to nothing about her but still I can read between lines and feel her.

Then, one day she didn’t tweet. Strange. Her reliable presence was missed by me – and others for sure. And when her avatar appeared again in my timeline I exhaled. But only until I read. It was not her tweeting but someone was informing the twitterworld that she had a stroke.

I sat very still and watched this tweet. I held my breath and willed it to go away. But it didn’t. I felt a light-headed sort of vertigo.I absolutely wanted to know how she was but I didn’t want to be a witness to someone’s serious health issues on that public basis. It felt all wrong and yet right in a way.

The person tweeting in her name posted updates of her state for several days. Seeing the avatar appear was always anticipated in fear and relief by me. Fear, because I was scared the person would inform us that she was worse, and relief when I read that she was getting better and thanking us for the well wishes.

She was back one day all of a sudden. She didn’t have to say it was herself again, the wording of her first tweet spoke mountains. And I am awfully glad that this sad story turned out so good.

Now, get back into your shoes. What did you feel? But most of all what would you do? If you were facing a real tragedy would you hide it or tweet about it? And just in case you now want to turn away and say it wouldn’t matter, I disagree.

I believe how we act in such personal things determines if we embrace the changes of our world and manage to define our relationships in a new way. It may be the fundament for being able to transfer a new way of forming friendships into our lifes. It might even be one important step to make „we are one world“ our reality.

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