So, dear readers, I am an avid lover and hater of Facebook, the social media platform that has taken over the world (well, most of the world. Heck, I even have friends in Uganda and Zimbabwe who use Facebook all the time). A number of years ago my sister in England was pestering me to “get a Facebook”. I resisted and resisted and finally got swept away in the tide and signed up. I was confused and bewildered at first. Poke someone? Why would I want to do that? What is my wall? I don’t see any bricks! Finally I settled down and got the hang of Facebook and started to really enjoy it. Fast forward five years and now it seems that almost EVERYONE has a Facebook account. In fact, I know people (ahem) who wake up and check their Facebook on their smart phones before they even get out of bed in the morning. And I don’t blame them for postponing getting out of bed at the moment –it’s bloody cold here in Canberra!
I love Facebook because it has been a wonderful way for me to make money in various ways and forms. At one stage I was a volunteer area coordinator for an exchange student program. I managed to find at least ten host families Australia-wide who wanted to host a student from overseas. Without Facebook, I have no idea how I would have found homes for these kids. My bulk incentive payment was in the thousands for that one, I was surprised and delighted to say the least.
More recently, I shaved my head for the World’s Greatest Shave (Click here to see my blog post about that event – and a few other Monday related items) and raised over $1500. Sure, half of that was contributed through workmates and my boss at the time, but Facebook certainly helped me spread the word and allowed me to provide the link to my World’s Greatest Shave’s fundraiser page.
When I lived on the Gold Coast, I used to round up all my friends via Facebook, suggesting dinners here, coffees there, etc. It was an excellent and highly successful way of communicating with my mates. On occasion we would have a group of up to 25 people diverge on Jupiter’s Casino for dinner, drinks and dancing.
Without Facebook, I would not have found my little Staffie, Shadow. Click here for a story about Shadow. I saw a photo on Facebook of a poor little old Staffie dog who was seeking a new home because his owner had passed away. The sucker that I am showed my husband the photo, and we both agreed that I should call in after work and meet the little old man. Well, I did, and he was just adorable and so sad, so I couldn’t resist but to bring him home.
I love how I can stay connected to my friends via Facebook because even if they change their phone number or email, I can still find them right where I left them – on Facebook. Saying that, I hate how people seem to think that communication via Facebook is just a fine way to communicate these days. I actually make the effort to call my friends occasionally rather than just see their status updates on Facebook all the time.
It seems that Facebook is an acceptable way to spread any sort of news. I discovered some amazingly good news regarding my friends Chippa and Shannah while browsing my newsfeed on Facebook one day. Chippa finally (after fourteen years?!) asked her to marry him! I was not about to acknowledge this on Facebook without making a phone call first. So I rang Shannah and appropriately screeched my congratulations down the phone, a call which had to be cut short because she had a plane to catch. Well, that was her excuse – perhaps I just deafened her.
Sadder news that I have happened upon is the death of not one, but two of my Facebook friends. The first was my lovely and amazing friend, Cyndi from Canada. I met Cyndi online playing Scrabble. We became Facebook friends and would often send each other humourous little messages, and I would often be in fits of laughter. I felt sure that should we meet in real life, we would get along like a house on fire. I hadn’t heard from Cyndi in quite a while, and I, too, had been busy. I clicked on her Facebook profile to see messages of condolences. I was very confused – what was going on? Finally I realised that Cyndi had passed away just that very day. I got in touch with her sister via Facebook, and she told me what had happened. Cancer had very quickly ravaged Cyndi and eventually got the better of her. I keep in touch with her lovely son, Elliott, via Facebook.
The second death was that of Mike, the husband of my dear friend, Susan. Susan and I started out as penpals, but quickly became Facebook and Skype pals instead. Again, I saw some details on Facebook and was utterly confused. What had happened? I sent Susan a message and she told me that her darling husband, Mike, had passed away during dinner one peaceful evening. Click here to read more about Mike. Mike was an amazing man, and I had, a couple of weeks prior, only just had the opportunity to say hi to him on Skype.
I do have a few “friends” who are major attention seekers. I get so fed up with seeing posts such as “so heartbroken” and “ouchies”. To me, these posts are just begging for attention. The whole world, it appears, is supposed to drop everything and rush to the keyboard to type in “oh, dear friend, what on earth has transpired to bring you to update your status in this manner”? Then the person who has made this attention seeking status will either just fob it off as nothing, or air all their dirty laundry for all and sundry to see, and then that issue will have resolved itself anyway within the next few days and it might as well have been kept under wraps.
Facebook and the internet in general, I suppose, provides a way for us to project an image of ourselves that we would like the world to see. Myself, not so much, but others, most definitely. I have a friend (friend of a friend, actually) who is the biggest dork you could imagine. He is really shy, socially inept and finds the internet a great way to communicate with people. If you were to only read his Facebook profile, you could be mistaken for thinking he is outgoing, fun, witty and popular with a wide variety of interests. A more sinister aspect of Facebook anonymity is that predators can do much the same thing, only their agenda is much scarier than just wanting to be liked and popular.
I have, on numerous occasions, sworn that I will delete my Facebook account. However, it proves too valuable to me, both with its reach, potential, and ease of communication with my friends and family. Heck, my mum even sends me a “happy birthday” via Facebook! (her excuse is that she never knows what my work hours are going to be…) If I were to delete my Facebook account, I wonder if I would feel like I am missing out. I mean, dear readers, my world would not be the same without chirpy little “thank god it’s Friday” posts, status updates of my friends, pictures of hideaway cottages, photos of my friends darling little babies (I have many friends who have had kids in the last few years, so yes, I do tend to get inundated with those), brag photos of new cars/ovens/holiday tickets/gardens, and witty animal photos that say things like “I gotz da fly! I didz!”
I do have a few favourites that keep popping up on Facebook, one of which is Grumpy Cat. I just love Grumpy cat so have decided to spoil you all with some grumpy humour.
So, really, if Facebook ceased to exist I dare say that there would be a lot to miss, but there would be a lot of time reclaimed, a lot more relationship successes (after all, don’t people get jealous of their partners when they are “friends” with their exes, or their new boyfriend/girlfriend doesn’t immediately change their status to “in a relationship”?) a lot less bullying and people might take the time out to talk face to face, not screen to screen.
Well, dear readers, its bed time. I might just have time to check my Facebook account on my phone before lights out. I know I only just checked it on my desktop computer before I got into bed, but who knows what amazing things I might have missed in that five minute interval! Sleep well!
p.s. If you want to add me on Facebook, click here for the link… I’ll be looking out for you!