Facebook has changed my life. As strange as it sounds (and I understand how most will take this), the fact is, it has. Chances are, whether you admit it or not, you’re in the same boat as me.
You could make every argument that I’m a strange bird, I’ve been accused of worse things in the last week, but the facts are undeniable. Friendships that I’ve made over the last 5 years are due, at least in part, if not completely, to the connection I have to these people through Facebook. Sad? You be the judge, but because of the information readily available on my phone, TV, computer, and tablet, I can, at a glance see how everything is going with people’s kids, parents, friends. I’ve celebrated, albeit minimally, in people’s marriages that I barely have contact with. I’ve mourned with people who have lost loved ones. When my mother passed away, Facebook allowed me to see support beyond what I would have had without it. I maintain relationships better, because I share in things. I can keep up with people who mean a lot to me, because if you’re like me, I have very little time in the day to call my friends, but I can still share in their experiences; and I have little outside of work – I can’t imagine if you have those things called “families”. I’d probably never be heard from again.
Sure, I hear pretentious arguments against it. How “I don’t need to read what you had for breakfast”. These are arguments from people who don’t experience what it’s like to have true connections with people. No one’s going to share what they had for breakfast, unless it’s an amazing brunch; in which case yes – let me see that. I hear things like it’s removing the intimacy of face-to-face relationships – how? It’s a tool to stay connected. If you’re not visiting people, maybe you should free up your schedule and go do it. That’s not a problem with a social tool, that’s a scheduling issue.
Sam Biddle of Gizmodo says, “If you don’t believe me, believe history. Remember those self righteous morons who took such groundless pride in not having a cell phone? Ten years ago, those people were left behind. Sure, we liked them. But they became annoying to get a hold of, forcing you to go out of your way to be friends with them because they labelled some new technology as beneath them without even taking the time to understand it. They didn’t want to learn how modern friendship had evolved. They choose to look at a brand new social tool as a hindrance rather than a convenience. This is all happening again, but with Facebook.” I love what Sam says here. It’s true. This is the evolving course of friendship – embrace it, or reject it; but reject it at your own peril.
Sure, there’s a lot that sucks about Facebook, but the fact of the matter is, it’s the way we connect these days. I hear arguments like, “I’d rather have a face-to-face relationship with someone” right before this person sends a text to someone. It’s probably similar arguments that farmers had when the first telephones were coming to town.
Sure there’s people who post those overly-dramatic or cryptic status updates that bothers everyone, there’s plenty that make me roll my eyes; but the fact is, I like my friends, despite their flaws. I want to share what’s going on in my life with them, and I want to see what’s going on with them. Make the argument that I should do that in person, but I’d argue back that Facebook is now where we’re going when it comes to sharing birthdays, weddings, get together’s, etc. You’re missing out a whole lot by not sharing in these things.
You’re not on Facebook? You probably don’t like your friends. I recommend getting some new ones.