Hey there! I'm Vivian. Sometimes I write about life and sometimes I write about teaching.

“It’s a hellscape.” That’s what I usually answer when people ask me about Twitter. Because it is…except when it’s not.

You know how social media works. Somehow Big Brother sees who you’re friends with and next thing you know they’re sending their friends’ and friends of friends’ content across your feed. Sometime in 2020, a tweet about getting a dog popped up on my Twitter feed. It was from a friend of a friend. Of course, I had to weigh in because yes, yes you should get a dog. Always. Anyway, that interaction led to more interactions. Next thing I knew I was donating to The Harambee Collective and making appointments to meet on Zoom with someone I’d never met in real life–Kisha.

Kisha is a lot like my stepdad. I always called him a Renaissance man because he had so many different talents. That’s Kisha. Soon after meeting her online, I found out she was starting to do interior design work, so I commissioned her to help me with my living space. I found that Kisha had a gift for listening and curating ideas that helped me get started on my project.

Fast forward some months, and I found myself on Zoom with Kisha again. This time she was my thought partner around a podcast project that I am working on. (If you’re reading this Kisha, I haven’t given up!) I already knew what a good listener Kisha is and I ended up finding out that she is also an amazing thought partner too–someone who can help you reflect and create actionable steps toward a goal.

This led to yet another collab. Kisha invited me to be a guest on her Instagram live and we had a great conversation around the problems with school awards. (You can check it out here, if you’re interested.)

All of this from an interaction on a social media that is usually a cesspool of negativity.

Two years after that first tweet, we finally got to meet IN PERSON last week when she was on a birthday trip to Los Angeles.

I’ve written a few times about how much I value the online friendships I’ve cultivated over the last two years and there are so many folks I still hope to meet IRL. Who’s next?

  1. I loved reading this! I have so many friends IRL that I originally connected with on Twitter. I am so glad you have a positive story like this to share about a connection you made!

  2. pfornale says:

    I am happy for you both to have met in real life. Two of my blog friends from SOL were real-life friends already. Others I would love to meet. Perhaps one day…

    I enjoyed your Instagram Live conversation, too. I agree that there may be a place for rewards, but we do not want to reduce learning to a base process of conditioning. There are deeper, meaningful rewards that all participants should derive from being in a healthy learning environment, as you both seem to explain.

    • vivian chen says:

      Oh I’m so glad you took a listen to the IG Live conversation. I the reward thing and the culture that perpetuates it is a big problem in education that doesn’t get talked about enough.

  3. onathought says:

    Such a great story of a friendship! I’m so glad you got to meet IRL, and what a testament to how social media can be a positive thing!

  4. Book Dragon says:

    This is amazing! Thanks for sharing such a positive experience you have had on social media. It sounds like you’ve had a very enriching experience connecting with Kisha.

  5. Lainie Levin says:

    See? This! THIS gives me hope for this world. Yes, social media gives me belly aches and gray hairs and the link, but YES. Social media also brings us wonderful people, and chances to meet and interact with folks we never would have had the chance to meet. Loved this post!

  6. arjeha says:

    A great example of how friendship blossomed from friend of a friend to friend. Glad you had the chance to meet IRL.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This brings me so much joy! I am grateful that we connected and have found ways to nurture our friendship! Until next time.

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