We live in a time when advances in technology have improved our communication and allowed us connect with people everywhere. Now, you can FaceTime or Skype your best friend and have an intimate, real-time, face-to-face conversation about important things such as rainbows and unicorns, regardless of where you live in the world. As a kid, the thought of calling someone on the phone and actually seeing their gorgeous mug as you spoke to them was something out of Star Trek. I mean, what’s next… Teleportation?
But just like everything, there must be a balance, and there is always a positive and negative side to our advances. I understand that with this technology comes a sense of de-humanization. Now, instead of having to talk to someone when you invite them out for a bowl of exquisite Fro Yo, you can simply send them a message from your smart phone. You can even take it to another level and add an emoticon to show what emotion you are feeling, so you don’t have to squander any unnecessary energy.
Now with the various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and LinkedIn, we have the ability to know what everyone is doing each second of the day… even celebrities! Oh the power! Muahahaha! *Spoken in a very deep, creepy, evil voice* But do we really need to know of every occasion that your best friend from high school, whom you haven’t spoken to in 15 years, goes to Starbucks for a caramel macchiato?
So what can I use this awesomatic tool for? When I use it for good, and not evil, it allows me to reach more people. Could you imagine if this Perky Parkie could only share her blog with those that she physically met? If only there were two of me to go around. But then again, knowing my luck, I would bump into my second self and we would spend hours complementing each other on our perfect hair, adorable outfits and then discuss the meaning of life is over an unnecessarily large cupcake. Digressing again…
In April, I had the exciting opportunity to visit the beautiful city of Boston, Massachusetts. I was going to support a friend as she ran the Boston Marathon; an event that I had no idea was so spectacular. The energy of the runners and the crowd as they cheered at the finish line was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Part of my promise to Earl Bakken, was to “Live On. Give On.” What this means to me, is wherever life takes me, any trip that I may embark, I will give to the community my time, energy and passion by offering myself to help raise awareness about Parkinson’s disease.
Boston was no different. And with the help of social media, I was able to connect with my new friend Dan, who provided me with the space to speak with Boston’s Parkinson’s community. It was so exciting for me to meet other Parkies and have the chance to share our stories… oh and their Dunkin’ Donuts… which mind you is on EVERY corner in the city. Mmmmmm, sweet hazelnut coffee and delectable chocolate donuts… come to Mama!
We have created something incredible. An online community of people sharing similar challenges and tales of how they have overcome these difficulties. At any given time, even during the night hours when us Parkies can’t sleep, there are people online looking for support, friendship or even just a laugh. You can use this technology to educate yourself with the thousands of resources on the web, use the anonymity to protect ourselves if we’re still unsure about going public with our illness, and even join Parkinson’s groups on the web, which becomes a place where you can ask any question you might have, with an audience in the hundreds available to give you feedback. All I can say to that is, “Beam me up Scotty!”