Ambassador Michelle is on the blog today and she talks about how social media has help make connections with women from all over the country! Do you have a love-hate relationship with social media? Have made some life-long connections because of it?

I know social media gets a bad rap these days. Much of it well deserved. However, for me, it’s been a wonderful experience. Besides all that I learn, cause yes, used wisely social media sites have led me to much knowledge about history, politics, economics, science, poetry and so much more. But the greatest gift of social media has been the opportunity to connect with women all over the world and make new friendships.

Friendships are hard for me. By nature, I’m a loner. I can connect and make small talk with the best of ‘em. But growing and maintaining a friendship is where I struggle. It’s an effort for me to reach out to people. I just don’t think to include people until the last minute or after the fact. I’m not the kinda gal who calls up for company on a shopping trip. I just go shopping. Same thing with outdoor adventure. I often just go alone. Many times it’s due to last minute planning. Other times I just want or need to go solo. But most times it’s just that I don’t think about asking people along.

I digress, back to how social media has changed this for me. Having all my friends at my beck and call on the many social media platforms removes much of the effort for me. I just have to scroll the feed and there they are.  Through Hike Like A Woman, I’ve made friends all over the country. Social media makes it easy for a loner like me to grow those friendships just by taking the time to read a post and comment or to send a message.

The key is engagement. I have to engage. Social media takes much of the effort away.  I’m still a creeper, scrolling, and reading. Smiling a little smile here alone in my living room that no one can see. That’s when I have to remind myself to share that little smile or whatever thought ran through my head. When appropriate, of course. Cause no one wants to hear most of the thoughts that run through my head. Nor are they always appropriate. The point is, I still have to remind myself to be engaged. I have to take action.

Recently HLAW started local hiking groups. We have them all over. There’s one in Utah, led by one of the Ambassadors I’ve gotten to know and love a little. (Know a little, Love a lot). A woman who hiked with that group moved here to Knoxville and hopefully will hike with the East Tennessee HLAW group. Small world, huh? We got to meet for the first time last week and hike together. I get to share with her my knowledge about hiking in the area and the climate. We both get to make a new friend with similar interests. Social media makes my world both bigger and smaller with these types of connections. It puts people in my path I might otherwise miss and my life is richer for the experience and the new friendships.

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