I know many people who do not like to be on Social Networks. Some say they don’t have the time to be spending on them. Life is too limited as it is they argue, to spend minutes or hours reading other peoples self absorbed thoughts. One person I know said he thought social networks were a sad commentary on our society. He felt, for him at least, he keeps in touch with the people he wants to keep in touch with and doesn’t need friend after friend. They all may have a point. My feelings, however, are different. Why? Well, I’m glad you asked.
Social Networks are the modern day means of keeping up. I do understand I don’t need to keep in touch with 252 friends. (Hey! I have a big family.) And of course, I don’t comment on all of them all the time. But I do have the ability to keep up with any one or four of those 252 friends. Like, in two weeks I am having lunch with my best friend from childhood. It will be our second meeting in a year. Our last meeting lasted three hours. It was filled with nostalgia, recapping our lives, humor, and really, there are certain things only she would get. She understands my past because she was part of it and there was a reason she was my best friend. Our connection is still strong, although different. We really didn’t choose to break away. Circumstances happened and we drifted apart. Facebook reconnected us. Through our reconnection, we found out I have e a mutual friend who is related to her husband. Now, without Facebook, we would have never known. Why care? Well, this mutually connected friend is joining us this time around and she is one person I would like to have a better friendship with….thank you very much Facebook.
Facebook also feeds the voyeur in me. I will admit it. I love to look at pictures of old friends and new family. Some of friends’ pictures reflect back the truth about myself. Like, I really am getting old. I mean if Suzie has wrinkles on her face, I can’t ignore the ones cutting into mine. We’re the same age! And some of the pictures of old friends spark memories…mostly happy…and after a particularly hard day, those memories can put a smile on my face. My husband and I come from large families. Our extended families are HUGE! Pictures are a way to bring our family together, if only by looking at photos of our future. Vacation photos are interesting. I have two friends who travels to the most exotic locations and I dig looking at their pictures. I may never get there, but is so cool I know someone(s) who have. And if we don’t want to see the sixteenth slide of Niagra Falls, we don’t have to. We’re not stuck at some gathering, having to make comments on every blessed photo.
Facebook postings can bring about healthy debate and open up lines of communication. Some posting have wowed me with their meaning. Some have been downright spiritual. I have two friends in particular who use quotes and spiritual messages to grab my soul. And when I don’t read soul grabbing quotes, even silly ones, I read controversial ones. I am one of those people who loves a healthy debate. I think my father was right when he told me I should go into law. As long as the comments stay respectful and void of derogatory remarks, Facebook is a great way to vent your frustrations, your feelings, your opinions and your voice. I did defriend someone once because she used a word a few times that is hurtful to gay people. In real life, I would have defriended her too. I do respect others opinions…but of course mine are always right. Just kidding! My point is, healthy debate can change people or it can strengthen our convictions. Either way, it can make a difference.
So yeah, maybe Social Networks are time consuming. Maybe we shouldn’t try to keep up with everyone. Maybe it is a statement on our society. Or maybe it’s life’s new way of communicating. Maybe it is a way to reconnect with people who left your life but never left the special place in your being. Maybe it’s a way to keep connected when things grow so large in our lives. Or maybe it’s a voice to an opinion that can spur change. It’s all on how you look at it….or how you don’t.