Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Okay, I get it now

The daughter of a family friend lives and works in Haiti with her husband and a sweet little toddler they are in the process of adopting. Her blog, No Frills in Haiti ( is a beautifully expressed journal of their lives in that hot, beautiful, desperately poor -- and today, it appears, ruined -- country.

I first learned about the earthquake last night not from news reports, but through my friend's Facebook status update, which noted that they'd not yet received word from their daughter. I awoke this morning to news of the devastation on my trusty clock radio tuned to NPR, and my alarm intensified. But before I headed off to my morning appointment with misery at the gym, I checked my Facebook page on my iPhone recharging by the bed and saw that minutes earlier our friend had sent another status update with the happy news that all three of them were alive and together.

Such relief. Followed, of course, by more concern -- the aftermath of such an event can be as wrenching as the event itself, and if I know anything about these angels of mercy, they will be in the midst of it working tirelessly to help so many injured and homeless.

But for now, as of this morning, they're safe.

I've complained aplenty about the fact that the rise of the internet allows anyone who can type or push buttons on a flip cam to be a "journalist" and the disintegration of the mainstream media. In my view, we're hurtling toward a world in which we each can live in our own little bubbles, getting our news from only those places that match our world view without distraction from dissenting ideas or opposing views - some of which might have merit. That troubles me. A lot.

But in knowing that in a horrific night of worry my friend could turn to Facebook to keep a broad network of friends and acquaintences apprised - and engage that broad network in fervent prayer, positive energy and support -I now fully get, and very much appreciate, the up-side of our changing media habits.

Take care, Kim. I will be thinking about you every day until you are able to share what you can of these experiences. Until then, I'll be checking your mom's Facebook status updates and thanking heaven for the forward march of technology.

P.S. A news report about them:

1 comment:

Emily said...

An interesting paradox - news from news outlets versus news from Facebook. Although maybe it's not a paradox, but a parallel. Facebook is important in this instance because the news reports don't always tell you the immediate whereabouts of your acquaintances. Both seem to matter at a time like this.