This post is part of a current series about Social Media and its benefits.

Usually when I give social media presentations and I ask people to list the positive aspects the first, and often only, good thing people name is the ability to keep in touch over great distances. To me this is certainly one of the best things about the invent of social media.

Of course, in person meetings are the best but with this global world we live in that is not always possible. Take my family for instance… I live on the East Coast. My parents, my married sister and a handful of siblings all live in the Midwest – 990 miles away from me. My Marine brother lives on the West Coast – 3,000 miles from me, 2,000+ miles from the rest of the family. Our closest cousins live in the South – 1,150 miles from me. Trips home are hard enough to coordinate, let alone trips to other cities to visit a family member or close friend. And that’s where social media comes in.

Without Skype and videos posted to Facebook I never would have seen my first nephew learn how to scale stairs, army crawl across the kitchen floor, and take his first steps. FaceTime on the iPhone allowed me to see my brother just hours after he graduated from the Marines despite the thousands of miles that separated us. This past Christmas I used Skype to be present at the family holiday party. My sister walked around with her computer, my face on the screen, so I could say hello to extended family, including my 90+ grandfather!

Email and Facebook has allowed me to stay current on what my friends are doing around the country and around the world. For example, I follow the adventures of a high school friend who moved with her husband to Hong Kong via the blog they write.

Even those wary of social media and all that it entails can attest to the huge benefits of it in staying up with family and friends. I was giving a presentation once and a young mother voiced his disillusion of Facebook and why anyone should have an account. I suggested she think of her life in 20 years, when her children are out of school and living on their own. A picture of your daughter in her new apartment, which would be posted to Facebook, or the equivalent, would go a long way in assuaging her concern for that child, especially if she is not there to help with the settling process.

Katie Hinderer

Katie Hinderer is a freelance writer and social media enthusiast. She holds a degree in Journalism from Marquette University. Over the years she has transitioned from traditional publishing...