Today, news broke of the passing of Maya Angelou, an American poet and treasured cultural icon. She leaves behind an inspiring life filled with rich and beautiful words. Her literary accomplishments are widely renowned. Her works are standard in American school curriculum.
She was also pretty handy with Facebook.
People deride Facebook for a number of reasons. The critical think pieces on the social network giant are plentiful, to be sure. One of the major annoyances in common use of Facebook is the overly dramatic and saccharine status updates, in which people try to make attempts at posting something inspirational, only to fall flat in some way.
Maya Angelou statuses, on the other hand, were the real deal, which I guess shouldn't surprise anyone, given her gift with words. She was part of a more recent trend in which members of the older generations are finding a voice on a social media site that's traditionally geared towards young people.
Many members of Angelou's generation have grumpy opinions about Facebook (and they're not entirely without merit), but Maya Angelou used Facebook as an opportunity to reach out to a newer, younger audience in ways that always felt genuine. Reading Angelou's updates invoked a truly uplifting and inspirational feeling whenever I saw her in my Facebook feed, which is rare for a website that's sometimes overwhelmed with negativity bred from ignorance, narcissism and bad grammar.
We will mourn her passing, and acknowledge the fact that our world is a little dimmer without her...and I'll miss seeing her on my feed.