Without platforms like Facebook, Skype, and Google +, it would be much harder for some far-flung extended families to stay connected this holiday season.
Stacey Wescott /Chicago Tribune/MCT
Gathering family for the holidays isn't what it used to be.
And that's a good thing for Carol Meerschaert, of Paoli, Penn. Ms. Meerschaert is one of eight siblings and has 15 nieces and nephews, some with additional spouses and children. Members of the clan live in California, Washington, D.C., Washington state, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania, and Montana.
For Meerschaert this holiday season, social media is the gift that keeps on giving. Without platforms like Facebook, Skype, and Google +, it would be much harder for the extended brood to stay connected.
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“Even if we were all in the same room you would not get the first person accounts of everyone talking at once,” Meerschaert says. “I love the photos, links to articles that speak to us, songs, videos, and more that we share online.” And just in case she was feeling her familiy wasn’t big enough already, she says that Facebook has reconnected her with many of her 48 cousins as well.
And there are so many online options to bring us closer together this year, says Anthony Rotolo, a professor at Syracuse University iSchool in New York. These options range from the more familiar, such as Facebook, to brand new sites such as Path – the exclusively mobile social network designed to be shared only with one’s closest friends – and Kondoot, which debuted in the US on Dec. 12 and is a social media tool that allows free, live online broadcasting.