swimmer“Believe in yourself, not only in swimming, but in life itself”

 Debbie Meyer

I would never have imagined how important technology, computing, the internet and Social Media would become in my life. When Mum and Dad gave me my first computer all those years ago, I believed it was just a ruse to get me to use my spastic right hand more! Little did they realise how adept this converted left handed, one hand typist would become! Now my laptop, iPad and Blackberry are almost my life blood. They enable me to communicate around the world from my little apartment. My weekly blog enables me to share my perspective on anything and everything!
I have friends that poo poo the whole idea of communicating through social media. These critics are often people who have not ‘dipped their toe in the water’. “Paddle,” I say to them, “Paddle!”
I have family and friends spread across the world. I use Skype to chat, but it is through Tweets, Facebook comments and photographs that I know what is happening in their worlds.
Going to university and into my theatre life I lost touch with a lot of school friends. Through FB I have managed to re-connect with many of them. It is so incredible to once more be able to “speak” to my lost school friends from Durban Girls College and Brescia House.
I get a large number of Friend Requests on FB. Usually I only accept people I know, but occasionally, I make exceptions to this rule. After all, rules are made to be broken, not so?
FacebookJane Mason is someone with whom I have connected through Facebook. I know she has limited mobility but the internet does away with that. She positively glistens in the waters of social media. She publishes stuff that makes me think, laugh and ponder. She is a great ‘friend’ to have.
Whilst in England I have also had three wonderful encounters with people I have only known previously through cyberspace. Let me tell you about them!
I try to make a point of replying individually to people that comment on my blog. I get to recognise those that read and remark on it regularly. Miriam Erasmus (who I call Mims) was one of them. And so when she sent me a Facebook friend request, naturally I accepted her. She is a folk singer and lives in KwaZulu-Natal. I learnt that she was travelling to England and wouldn’t be far from where B and I were staying in the Cotswolds. Message followed message on FB and we arranged to meet at a lunch I was holding for eight of my old acting friends. I asked her to bring her guitar! My ‘Facebook friend’ had no sooner arrived when my old friends Bella Mariani, Odile Rault and her sister, Sharelle piled through the door. Before I could even begin the introductions, Mims, Odile and Bella gave a cry of recognition and flung themselves into each other’s arms. As performers they had all met in the past and then lost contact. Shane and Miranda De Barra then arrived. It turns out that Mims had known Miranda’s father, the director, John Moss, and auditioned for him.mimms
I looked at all of my friends singing along with Mims on the guitar and smiled. It made me realise what an incredibly small world we live in. Isn’t it wonderful how lives can now be re-connected through social media!
I initially connected with Sarah Lawrence through Twitter. She showed a great interest in my blog, particularly when I wrote articles concerning my deafness. She explained to me that she is the creator of SL First  a printed magazine in the United Kingdom for people who are deaf/hard of hearing. There is also an online version that is seen worldwide. Whenever I wrote an article on my deafness, she would re-publish the same article in her magazine, thus increasing ‘ear ‘ear’s exposure.
SLFirstSarah lives in Wales which isn’t that far from the Cotswolds. A fair distance but not THAT far! I suggested that maybe she and her business partner, Simon Deacy, came around for brunch and she readily accepted. What a treat it was putting a wide open laughing face to the Tweeter @SLFirst! She had lost all her hearing at the age of three due a case of mumps. Over scrambled eggs, she had to lip read everything as neither B nor I could sign. Fortunately Simon was on hand and whenever there was a little confusion between us he would sign to Sarah and she would smile as comprehension dawned. I thank God that I am now able to ‘hear’ because of my Cochlear Implants and I am so grateful for Twitter. Without it this friendship would never have begun.
On the 30th May, for the first time ever, I published a blog that was not written by me. Shame! was written by Heather Malcherczyk concerning the Oscar Pistorius trial. I had never met Heather but the email forwarded to me by a friend was one I felt deserved to be read. The trial is still ongoing. Who knows what the conclusion will be? It turned out that Heather lives in Hampshire. So, whilst in London on the briefest of brief trips, I suggested she joined me me and two other friends, Lawrence Hilton and Pierre Jacques de Villiers for lunch. Once again it was wonderful to match form and face to her views that had been spinning through cyberspace. It was interesting that she chatted so knowledgeably to us about South Africa, the trial and it’s politics despite never having set foot in the country. I hope one day she does.
What wonderful encounters I have through social media. Who knows who else I will swim with in the future!
“Suddenly the world is a smaller place.”
Providing you take the plunge!

(The beautiful painting ‘ All is Quiet’ I have used to introduce this blog is by the wonderful Karoo artist Lisl Barry – www.lislbarry.co.za)