Sharing Gratitude Through Social Media

February 16, 2011

Last week I was on a trip with my twelve-year-old son to Orlando. We planned a road trip to see the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park. We drove because we didn’t want to be “naked scanned” or groped in the airports, but mainly so we could make a couple of stops. On the way out we stopped to tour the USS Alabama battleship plus the planes, tanks, and submarine on display at the site. On the way back we took time to drive through the Civil War memorial at the Vicksburg battlefield.

It’s probably easy to tell my son is a Harry Potter fan and a fan of military history and weaponry. Okay, I’m also a Harry Potter fan, but I’m not crazy about military equipment and weapons the way my son is. He knew which tank was which. He was guessing about the details of the big guns on the battleship as we approached, and most of his guesses were right. He knew details of the cannons and rifled guns we saw on the Vicksburg battlefield. Obviously he had a great trip start to finish.

Along the way I took pictures of places we stopped and found it pretty easy to share them on Facebook. I created a photo file for our military tours that I named “BOOM BOOM Pow!” I created a file for our Universal experiences called “Perry Potter,” because when my son was very young and first heard of Harry Potter that’s what he called him. I also created a file called “Hakuna Matata” for our day of adventures at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. We had seen a documentary about how they planned, designed, and created the park so we were eager to take the safari ride, see the recreated African village, find the tigers in the Asian temple ruins, and experience the roller coaster on Everest.

I used Facebook because it was the easiest way to update extended family as we went. It turned out that some of my Facebook friends commented on the photos, asked questions, and had a chance to share the trip vicariously. Before long I was looking forward to posting photos updating everyone on what we were seeing and experiencing. I even took a photograph of butter beer in Hogsmeade village!

Sharing the photos and sharing our experiences became a way of recognizing and sharing my gratitude for the fun we were having, the new sites we were seeing, the fact we were able to take time off and enjoy a fun trip, and having the opportunity to see things we had been looking forward to seeing for a long time. Those photo albums became an impromptu gratitude journal.

Since writing in a gratitude journal daily – or posting to this blog on gratitude occasionally – aren’t things I do well, I like finding alternatives that I can do well. Capturing the moment in a photo to share on Facebook became a great way for me to savor those experiences.

I have tried to add the photo files to my Facebook business page but it’s not working out. They have recently added a feature where you can use a business page very much the way you use a personal page, but whenever I sign in to do that I can’t get the links to work.

If you’re a Facebook friend look for the photo albums. If not, go ahead and “like” my business page and you’ll be able to see the photos as soon as I’m able to post them. I sure hope they get that fixed soon. I’ll be really grateful when they do!


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