Who's that Girl?


Twitter and My “Almost Cousin”

Originally posted: August 26, 2011 on TrishMcFarlane.com


You know it when you feel it with another person.  You sense the immediate connection and feel like you have known the person forever.  And, hopefully you notice that the other person feels the same way.  Of course that can happen in romantic situations but more often, it happens in those chance meetings with individuals that become our life-long friends.

Since becoming involved in social media, blogging and Twitter have brought several people into my life that I felt this chemistry with.  One is Dwane Lay.

We’re both HR professionals.

We both live in St. Louis.

We both blog and speak at conferences.

We like many of the same things and the same people.

Dwane & Trish- I talk, he listens.

Like any good friends, you try to be there in times of need.  Dwane was kind enough to call me this week to check in after my aunt passed away.  I thanked him for calling and shared some of the details with him.  Details that included that I’ll be heading to a small town in southern Missouri on Saturday for her burial at the family cemetery.  When I said the name of the town, he immediately responded that he knows the town.  In fact, his mother’s entire family is from the next town over and have strong connections to the town I mentioned.

My mind was racing.

Do our families know each other?  What is the connection?  Even better, are we somehow related?

As it turns out, we are not related.  However, we do have families that shared connections that go back several generations.  In a small farming community it would be virtually impossible for our families paths not to collide.  We quickly agreed that we needed to call our mothers to find out how the families connect.

I think my mom getting a call out of the blue that sounded something like, “Mom! My friend Dwane just told me his whole family is from Patterson/ Piedmont and do you know them and do you remember them and do you have any stories about them and are we related and what if we are! Wow that would be cool and do you think you can tell me all about it oh and are you in the middle of cooking dinner? forget that this is BIG news mom, don’t you think? and can you believe I met him on Twitter????”  I was talking so fast it was one long, run-on sentence and my poor mom was just trying to figure out if it was me or my sister calling.  I can’t blame her for being caught off guard.

As she slowed me down and we went through each of my questions I quickly learned that the families knew each other.  In fact, she had gone to school with Dwane’s uncle her entire life and even dated him for a brief time.  I learned that my aunt who had passed knew his aunt and were likely in the same grade.  I learned that my mom even remembered Dwane’s mom as the baby of her family.

Small world.

I called Dwane back, quite excited with the information I was armed with.  He was excited too with his own stories of further connection.

When we finally hung up after realizing we could have almost been cousins, it was as if we already were.

So, when people ask me why I like networking on social media sites, I can add “because it helps me find/ make my family”, that will be true.  Life is short and the opportunity to make connections with those people we can trust are rare.  I’m thankful that I’ve been open to networking because it has enriched my life in so many ways.

And brought me my “almost cousin”, Dwane.

Thanks Twitter.

**To hear Dwane’s side of our story, click through to his post “The Family We Choose”

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