I follow a beautiful couple, Anna Lee and Jesse, on YouTube. They do vlogs of their daily life and fun events, awesome food, and sunny weather in California. Because I've been following them for a while, I've grown very fond (and attached) to their beautiful dogs, Cooper and Mookie.

Cooper died a couple months ago...and I cried. I cried like I did when my best friend Gavin told me that his dog, Rocky, died. In the moment, it didn't feel strange at all. I didn't question the pain I felt for them. Myself and thousands of other fans of their YouTube videos reached out to them to share our condolences. Any pet owner knows how much our furry (or slithery or whatev's) friends touch our lives. They are our family.

But, when I thought more deeply about the connection I felt to Anna Lee, Jesse, and Mookie at the death of Cooper, I realized that social media has changed the way we view things.

There is a common concern that social media is disconnecting people from the world. But, I would argue that the world of social media, particularly vlogs and blogs, has allowed us to connect with people intimately in new ways. Because of their vlogs, I feel that I am often welcomed into Anna Lee and Jesse's home. I see the joy in Mookie & Cooper's eyes when Claire comes over for a visit. I see them laugh with their friends, making dinner, getting haircuts, going to flea markets, eating fish tacos (which I now want to try!), etc. In this way, my relationship to Anna Lee and Jesse is, in certain respects, similar to my relationship to Gavin. I've been in Gavin's home, we've made dinner together with his parents, I've seen Rocky and Pouncer, and now CJ and Bono, we've gone to movies, we've eaten late night meals. We've lived life together. And I've seen life through Anna Lee and Jesse's eyes. Because of this, it was very painful and I cried so much when Cooper passed away. And still, I feel a little painful tug on my heart when I see Mookie without Cooper. I didn't get to know Cooper in the same way that I knew Rocky, but the connection was similar. And it was beautiful. But, life continues to move and Rocky & Cooper live on in our hearts & memories.

As I contemplated all of this, I marveled at how fascinating the realm of social media can be. I recognize that there are dangers in it. I've seen hateful remarks and ignorant racism & sexism cowardly spewed from behind a computer screen. I've seen people lose touch with one another, afraid of face to face contact. We no longer talk. We no longer listen.

Or perhaps, if you look on the positive side, we talk and listen differently. For me, it's all about balance. I love interacting with people, face to face or otherwise. Phone chats, coffee breaks, Skype catch-ups, good morning text messages, breakfasts, dinners...I love it all. This is why I work in the field of communications. There are endless possibilities. And I enjoy social media. I love seeing how people I knew in high school have grown and changed over the years. Without Facebook, honestly, I wouldn't keep in touch with most of them.

Yet, I also love meeting new people through common interests on sites like Twitter. I've made so many new friends from all over the place who love the same tv shows or events as I do because we chat about them online. And I've been able to feel connected to new friends, like Anna Lee and Jesse, Wendy from Wendy's Lookbook, Claire from ohhaiclaire (now Claire Marshall), Sammi from beautycrush, Patricia from BritPopPrincess (now Patricia Bright), Jenn Im from clothesencounters, and others through their blogs, vlogs, and videos on YouTube.

In short, is there a disconnection in social media? For some, yes. Are there negative connotations to a digital world? Yes. But are there positive things? Yes. Beautiful friendships? Yes. Intimate connections? Yes. It's all about what you make of it.

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