Facebook has got to be one of the most popular, yet controversial movements of the last 10 years, in fact I suspect it’s social media in general that causes such an uproar, but there is something about facebook which people either love or hate, or only just tolerate…
This week on macarisms there was a great blog about the importance of watching one’s words on facebook, especially our responsibility to write with integrity online. Although I do really like facebook, I also completely agree with Macca on this one. There is an ugly side to social media.
As such I have a number of friends who have completely rejected facebook, for various reasons, and while I completely respect them for it, I’d just like to put out there some of the reasons I think facebook, and other social media, are a great part of our generation.
Firstly I love the connectedness I can have with people through facebook. While I completely agree that this is nothing to IRL ‘in real life’ relationships, having lived in three different states, and having friends all over the world means that facebook is a great way for me to continue those relationships, at least in terms of continuity, so that when we do see each other face to face we have some ongoing connection. I love hearing about, seeing picture of and celebrating with friends who have significant events in their lives even if I can’t be there. This week for example I have enjoyed seeing pictures of a friend’s wedding, another friend’s new baby and other friend’s new house in Africa. I also have cousins in the UK who I would have very little connection with if it wasn’t for facebook, and when we visited them last year it was great to have some idea about each others interests and life events so that our conversation was much richer. Sad to say, but the days are gone when I would look at the newspaper to find out about significant events, instead I look at facebook where I find out about births, deaths, and marriages by word of mouth.
While many of my friends get annoyed at that one person in their news feed who always has something to complain about, or the person who always puts up a picture of what they just ate. I don’t mind it too much (and if I do, I just hide their posts for a while) because I love celebrating and mourning with my friends
I also love seeing how small the world really is. Not only do I have connections with people all over the world through facebook (in fact the person who initially invited me to facebook back in 2006 was a school friend who lived in Canada at the time), but I’m also randomly finding connections between my friends. Today I found out that an old school friend knows a new college friend, random much?
We also use facebook at church and college to network with each other. While again it doesn’t replace the face to face, networking online can certainly help facilitate relationship building, and I can think of at least one person in our church community who I wouldn’t have met if it hadn’t been for our facebook group.
Someone told me the other day that social media can be great for introverts, who love connecting with people but don’t necessarily feel comfortable walking up to a stranger and saying hello. I can certainly relate to this, although I must say I do still prefer only befriending people on facebook who I know.
I know that there are lots of things not to like about facebook and other social media for that matter. But I have to say, there are a lot of benefits to it as a facilitator of relationships. There’s no way I can say that purely facebook relationships are full and meaningful, but I think it can have a place to support relationships. So, I don’t think I’ll be cancelling my account any time soon. By the way if you read this and do have a facebook account, it would be great if you could post something every once in a while. Don’t just be a passive fb user, be an active fb user, I’d love to know something about your everyday, ordinary life!