Love letter to Facebook

I’m no investing expert but I’m still kicking myself for not buying shares of Google back when it was $100 per share.  With the news of Facebook reportedly going public on the stock exchange sometime this Spring, I am compelled to ponder the value & longevity of Facebook in our daily lives.

Everyone is busy with their own routines and doing their own thing, so it’s really hard to disconnect from or jump off the grid and slow down to re-connect on an in-person level with everyone you care about.  Because quite frankly, who has the time?  It’s hard.  I know this from first hand experience.  I chase 2 kids, a husband, & an 8 to 5 day job.  The days really don’t offer much room for maintaining personal relationships anymore.  This is why I’ve grown to really love Facebook….

The critics can complain about Facebook all they want to but the thing that really sets it apart from anything else out there is the human connection.  It’s criticized for having a lack of “real” human connection but I find quite the opposite.  I can post a sentence on Facebook that takes 30 seconds to type, and get an outpouring of feedback & advice within minutes.  It would take me 3 weeks to call 25 friends & seek their opinions, but on Facebook it hits all of them instantly but allows them to formulate a thought on their own schedule (aka: at midnight in their bathrobe if it suits them)!  For that reason ALONE, I love Facebook.  Now that I’m a Mom I have no time to have phone conversations with my girlfriends anymore.

When I’m stranded on my own little isolated island of myself, my kids, my household, my day-to-day,  the same four walls, sometimes the ONLY personal time I have to myself is Facebook.  I look at it like my morning newspaper, or my juicy novel, or my long bubble bath.  It’s ME time.  I get to engage in conversations of my liking.  I get to catch up on what friends & acquaintances are up to.  I get to see any news or pop culture gossip.  I get to offer advice or get advice.  Sometimes it’s like self help for someone who can’t make time in the day to go see a life coach…. (Me)

I can laugh & cry with my friends on Facebook everyday even when I haven’t left the house in 3 months (Facebook was great for Maternity leave).  Facebook is the only place I can post things like:  Vaccinations for kids or no vaccinations?  Public School or Private School?  What should I get my husband for our Anniversary?  My child is sick with XYZ symptoms, what could it be?  And I get 45 responses, in support of or debate, or with experience or advice.  It’s engaging conversation with 45 friends from across the country who otherwise would have never been in the same room together to have such a discussion.  It’s as close to an exciting dinner party as you can get but without people interrupting each other or drinking too much or staying too long.

Facebook is the only place I can see the wedding photos or the newborn of my best friend from 3rd grade even though we haven’t seen each other in-person in years.  Ok, decades.  Why would it matter then?  Why would I even want to catch up on a mere acquaintance now?  For the same reason you might take 10 minutes to catch up with an old friend if you ran into them at the local Mall.  Because it’s some form of curiosity.  Camaraderie.  Connection.  It’s the human experience.  It’s familiarity and relate-ability to someone else.  Belonging.  Which is the most basic desire of all humans, the need to feel love and to belong.

Call Facebook narcissistic if you want, but to me it’s a sense of support & esteem.  It’s been there for me through good times & the bad.  It’s where I share my greatest times & my lowest times.  All the while, my Facebook family is there for me.  It will never take the place of in-person relationships with my family or friends, but it supplements my basic relational needs very nicely on a regular basis.

I’ve felt wrapped in a blanket of Facebook love through many worrisome times, especially recently.  Next to getting a big hug from my Mom, Facebook is a close (not a distant) 2nd.  It’s full of other “Moms” or “sisters” who hug me with words, or make me laugh, or give me advice, when I need it (or even when I don’t).  I never feel alone.  For that, I’m so grateful.  Facebook may never replace physical human interaction, but when families/friends move apart or life gets busy, it’s often the most convenient option you’ve got.

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