Social media certainly catches its fair share of flak for the boring minutia of everyday life users typically post and the claims of privacy invasion that are clearly worthy of the negative press that aspect receives. But alas, there are always stories such as the one that recently surfaced that point out the positive power social media can carry as well.
Twenty seven-year-old Katheryn Deprill of South Whitehall Township in Pa., who gained notoriety as the Burger King baby after her biological mother abandoned her in an Allentown, Pa. Burger King restroom when she was just hours old, recently posted on Facebook her intent to connect with her mom and asked anyone who may know who she is to tell her to come forward.
The post read:
My birthday is September 15th, 1986 and I was left by my birth mother in the bathroom of an Allentown Burger King. Today I have launched a campaign to find my biological mother. I would love to be able to meet her, and hug her. I want her to know that I am not mad at her for what she did, however I have so many questions to ask her and also to start a relationship with my biological mother. If she comes forward please tell her to not be afraid and contact me as soon as possible.
After the post was shared over 30,000 times, that's exactly what her mom did just days later and this past Monday the pair were reunited in a highly emotional moment for both women.
"They immediately hugged," said Jim Waldron, an attorney who arranged the meeting at the request of Deprill's birth mother. "It was exciting, emotional, dramatic."
"She is better than anything I could've ever imagined. She is so sweet and amazing. I'm so happy," Deprill said.
Deprill, now an EMT and a married mother of three, declined to identify her mother after the meeting but did say she is looking forward to developing a relationship with her.
As the social media world continues to hear criticism from all sides, stories such as Deprill's are a welcome respite. For parents in particular there has been growing concern over the dark sides to their children's participation in social media. However, according to a recent online survey conducted by Harris Interactive, 55% of teens felt social media sites like Facebook and Twitter brought to them more awareness regarding the needs of others. Another finding was that teens felt that local volunteering was more important (91%) to them as a result of their involvement in social media.
Perhaps, amid the postings of what we had for dinner tonight and the frustration we feel over the long red light we're currently sitting at are opportunities for social media to lend a helping hand, bring people together and help us understand life's up and downs a bit more clearly.