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12 years to find a friend

June 8, 2011

Always nice to have a feel-good story in your week and this is one I’m a bit chuffed about right now. It’s a ‘social media bringing the world together’ story, so to speak.

You see, when I was 17, I was heading off to study at Uni, and my parents received an overseas posting to go to Jakarta, Indonesia. Although I had followed them around the world for 17 years – from Canada to the US, to Cyprus and all kinds of places, I decided to stay in Canberra to go to Uni and stay in my hometown to grow some roots.

When you’re 17, lazy and don’t have a job though – that’s no mean feat.

I managed to find a place that was cheap, affordable and close to uni, where I was sharing with a bunch of international students – 4 Korean dudes to be specific (lots of great cookouts there!), and after a few months, a 30 year old Danish student moved in. He had come all the way around the world from Aarhus (pronounced “Orr Hoos” I believe) to study at ANU. At the time I couldn’t believe how someone so ‘old’ (I am now hurtling toward 31 myself) was still a student, but it didn’t matter – this character was full of life and an all-round top bloke.

Over the next year or two we got up to all sorts of shenanigans and became great friends. Eventually, it all came to an end and we went our different ways, as so happens in share houses.

All that was about 12 years ago now. A lifetime it seems, and of course since then I’ve started a career, done OK out of it, met the lovely Jodie, married her, and occasionally I even feel like a grown-up.

Since that time though, I’ve tried a number of times to track him down – and I’m normally pretty decent at finding people via various ways and means. Finally, just last week I thought I’d put Martin’s name into the Facebook search box again and see if anything popped up, and lo and behold – he had finally discovered social media and instantly came up on the search results.

Having ‘friended’ him on there, Martin got in touch instantly and we’ll shortly be catching up when I’m next in Canberra – as he still resides there fortunately enough (Denmark might have been a bit far to go to catch up).

So it’s a happy ending thanks to social media again, and I am genuinely over the moon to have gotten back in touch with an old friend after more than 10 years of trying to find each other. We’ll have a beer and speak of a world long gone, and the world that lies ahead. Good times.

I love working in and around social media for so many reasons. Most of the time I spend it discovering opportunities for businesses and organisations – but every now and then I have to stop and remind myself of the powerful human connectivity it brings us.  The people I work with refer to it as ‘the improvement of the human condition,’ which is so true. The world is a crazy place, but sometimes the simple things done well can help us make so much more sense of it.


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