Sunday, March 09, 2008

Linking In

I've been on Linked In for some time, and never really saw the benefits to it other than for job searches. I recently registered on Facebook and have been having fun connecting with people. Right off the bat, it searches your email address book so it pulled up classmate from graduate school to a former colleague and friend who moved away when she got married. I thought she still lived in Washington state, but she's in Hyderabad with a 3-year-old!

It's been exciting to reconnected with childhood friends and family members. I have a few cousins who are older than me in India and a slew of cousins here who were 10-18 years younger. I never paid too much attention to them growing up. They were just little kids, more annoying than anything. Well, now these "little" kids are in their 20's, in medical and law school and/or working professionally. Looking at their homepages, I get an inside peek into the really interesting adults they've become. And social! I don't know how my cousin at 22 has 400 "friends." Actually, he's the one with political aspirations, so he's on the right track.

I was thrilled to see that through the family network, my older cousins' daughters are also connected. I haven't seen them since they were 9-10 years old. Now, they're 18-19 years old, have their crazy pictures, honest statements and just about everything posted. It's fascinating because I see one niece is a spitting image of her mom! And, from her style sense I can see she's a fashionista like her mom and my sister!

Last November, another cousin and I connected through email. She lives in South Africa these days and we were trying to meet up in India, since our trips coincided. We did not meet due to other circumstances, but spoke on the phone after 22 years. She sent a photo of her 14 year-old son and he looks exactly like her, since my memories are of her at the same age.

Bringing people together is one of the strengths on an online community. However, it's one thing to meet another Jane Austen fan on a board to meeting your cousin or niece for the "first time." My family is close together in NJ, and the aunts and uncles meet regularly at each others' homes and social functions. However, the cousins are all spread apart, doing their own thing.

There's a book by Rona Jaffe, "The Cousins," which talks about the complicated relationship. They bond well in childhood because the parents are siblings. However, it's harder for the cousins to connect as they grow up because they choose different directions and lose the common bond. In one way, I feel like we missed the common bond in childhood, but we have the potential to establish it again.

1 comment:

ZenDenizen said...

I am loving my experience on LinkedIn. I'm amazed and flattered that co-workers from '94 even remember me :)