It's cold, wet and windy outside, but my wife is hanging nine stockings for nine beautiful grandchildren on the mantle. So maybe it is just getting my old, cold heart more into the Christmas spirit that made me focus in on a couple of social media stories worthy of sharing.
First involves the use of Facebook to reunite lost photos from Sandy with their owners. There are many examples of how social media, Facebook in particular, is a key part of recovery by providing an easily accessible resource for finding what you need or what may have been lost. It's easy for those of us unaffected by a major disaster like Sandy to not be touched by all the stories and even pictures of the disaster. But somehow, seeing how meaningful it is to find precious photos lost in all the muck and mud touches the heart more surely than all those pictures of flooding, floating cars and wrecked homes.
The second is from Bill Boyd sharing a story that circulated around the web (I got it a few weeks ago). I've replied more often than I like to think to those sending stories like this that they should check snopes first before sending something out that purports to be true. Separating fact from fiction, rumor from critical intelligence is one of the biggest challenges facing emergency managers as use of social media and UGC (user generated content) becomes mainstream as it quickly is. But Bill points out that sometimes what you get should be true, even if you can't be certain that it is. This heartwarming story is certainly one of them.
I hope that it is not too early for the beauty, mystery and meaning of this special season of the year to seep into your busy life as well. Let me be among the first to wish you a very Merry Christmas.