Some things I love about facebook

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!

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