I have recently started a new venture called, “The Great Social Media Selfie Project.” The goal is to obtain a picture of myself with every single one of my Facebook friends. Considering I have nearly 1200 connections across the world, this could take some time.
So far, my venture has taken me through a good portion of New England and a few southern states. I have been surprised and delighted to find that my friends are enthused about the project, and are willing to go out of their way to meet me at least long enough to take a selfie.
A blogger and homeschool mom that I had never before seen in person, drove 20 miles and met me at the end of an interstate exit ramp in New York. She came bearing a bottle of wine and words of encouragement.
In New Hampshire, a T.V. personality and his girlfriend, took time out of their busy schedules to treat me to dinner.
My fourth grade teacher, whom I had not seen since 1980, met me late at night at a McDonald’s in rural Pennsylvania, and we talked until the wee hours of the morning.
Last week, I was planning to spend two nights at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville with an old friend. He ended up in the hospital at the last minute, so I was left with lots of time to fill on my own. I hopped on Facebook and started seeking out friends who lived in the area.
My cousin Vickie was equally eager to connect, and fought rush hour traffic to come to the hotel for a selfie and a cup of tea. The interesting thing about my relationship with Vickie is that she is actually a distant cousin that I first met online 15 years ago. We lived nearly 500 miles apart, and were both doing genealogy research. She posted on Ancestry.com that she was looking for information regarding the great-grandfather she had never met. He happened to be my great-great uncle, and I had known him quite well before he passed away. Connecting with Vickie corrected a long ago breech in the family relationships, and I am always excited to see her.
I have a favorite restaurant in Nashville called Old Hickory, but I really hated going to dinner alone. I scrolled through my friends list and decided to invite a high school classmate I had not seen or communicated with since our 1988 graduation. His immediate response of yes made me smile.
We caught up over shrimp cocktail and filet mignon, and took a series of selfies after finishing off our second bottle of wine. In high school we bonded over the fact that we were two
“Yankees” adjusting to life in a small southern town. Thirty years later, we bonded over fond memories, shared stories of divorce and raising kids alone, and a well-timed dance in a lovely gazebo. It kind of made up for the fact that I skipped our senior prom in order to attend the local truck and tractor pull.
The following morning, I met Lisa Marie. Or rather, Lisa Marie met me. She rearranged her schedule and drove through crazy traffic so we could spend 10 minutes together in the hotel parking lot. As little girls, we had attended the same church in Indiana. Her parents and my grandparents were the best of friends. In 1976, it was Lisa Marie who taught me how to roller skate. Two years later, my family moved out of the state and I had not seen her since. Our reunion was brief, but ever so sweet, and I am grateful she took the time.
So far, I have 30 pictures for the Great Social Media Selfie Project. It will take a long time to get all 1,200. But my life has already been enriched by connecting face-to-face with people who have only been images on a screen for far too long.

Ginger Lumpkin is an author, motivational speaker, and mother of five. Follow her on Facebook, find her on the web: www.gingeretta.com, or contact ginger.columnist@gmail.com.