Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Case FOR Facebook

This morning, a Facebook friend shared an article from the Huffington Post, entitled “11 Reasons You Should Quit Facebook in 2014”. Some of the author’s reasons were based on perceived “annoyances”; others based on privacy concerns stemming from commercial data mining or worry about your “friends” seeing things you don’t want them to see. I’m not a Facebook shareholder, and I know that Facebook isn’t for everyone. Many people have reasonable and valid reasons not to use Facebook. However, I have my own view of the benefits of this outlet for social connectivity…

Over the years, I lost touch with people I cared about. I have moved 5 times since graduating from college and starting a career. My friends and I were busy, and it seemed to be almost impossible to keep up with people – even with the advent of email. Through Facebook, I have been able to renew meaningful contact with people who are dear to me.

We have good times and bad. Sharing the good times isn’t necessarily boastful or narcissistic. Sometimes it’s about sharing Happiness and Joy and Hope. It can be inspiring. And I can’t count the times friends have reached out for help or support and received it. Communication in any form can be a lifeline. Give and you get back tenfold. Share and people will share with you. Thank God, it’s Human Nature.

Just in the past 24 hours, Facebook has delivered photos of: a friend’s newborn baby, a reunion of college friends performing a New Year’s show, my sister celebrating her birthday week, a friend’s parents meeting their grandchildren for the first time… I could go on and on. If you aren’t interested in what your Facebook friends share online, then you can either “Hide” their postings (they won’t know, so you won’t hurt their feelings), or you should “Unfriend” them.

Why do people share so much on Facebook? I don’t think there is a simple answer. I’ve asked myself the same question about why I blog. Without going into a lot of psychological depth… I want my friends to know me. I’m not blessed with children or grandchildren. Maybe I’m looking for other ways to leave my footprints in the sand. I like to write. I like to make people laugh. I like to communicate. So sue me.

I choose not to dwell on the negative possibilities of Facebook use. I regularly visit my Facebook Account and Privacy Settings, and restrict them as necessary. I don’t play games via Facebook, because they require that I share my friends’ info, which isn’t mine to share. Facebook facilitates extensive data mining. Fortunately, most companies are really inept at it, so I don’t feel particularly threatened by their efforts to capitalize on what they think they know. My ability to ignore their flailing advertising overtures is considerable. If the intrusion ever actually outweighs the benefits I gain from Facebook, I will reconsider my position.

Dear Friends: Keep reaching out, post those photos that keep me in the know and warm my heart, share your personal philosophies, give and get in return.

Happy New Year!

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