The other day I was talking with a friend of mine who emphatically told me Facebook was “stupid” and he’d rather be out talking to people face to face. I then had a conversation with a family member who expressed her feeling that anyone who “wasted time” on Facebook was lacking in social skills, and needs to “get a life”. I laughed to myself.
When I hear folks disparaging Facebook I often think they don’t really understand it, or how it works, and how it can benefit the user. Sure, you can post photos of yourself drinking beer, scantily clad at a pool party, disparage someone, or make rude comments…..but is that who you are in real life? Facebook is a window into who you are—-or at least YOU have the option of creating a Facebook persona. Do I mean a page filled with lies? No— but there is nothing wrong with “tweaking” your Facebook page to make you look friendly, politically involved, dog-friendly, well traveled etc. if that’s who you are. It’s called MARKETING, spinning the facts– but in a good way—posting relevant posts to uphold your “image”—-and making thoughtful comments that are not hurtful or excessively inflammatory.
The advantages of Facebook are many and each person has their own way in which they utilize it. The following list are some of the ways that Facebook has benefited me.
People with similar views and interests–I’m a political activist and have made many contacts with similar agendas.
Elderly feel less isolated—Many of my older FB friends have been transformed by Facebook. An IM is a wondrous thing when you are all alone, and not feeling well.
Make announcements—New baby? Job promotion? You can share this with just family, or just close friends, many of whom may not be in the same geographical location.
Opportunities for real-life relationships—I have met many of my “friends” in real life and have broadened my social circle, leading to new business, and new friendships.
Strengthen existing relationships—Time zones are tough, especially when one has friends in New England or New Zealand. Messages an be posted 24 hours a day, making your location transparent.
Sharing photos and events with family members—I’m so glad I don’t have to email 15 different people my daughter’s wedding photos, my new landscaping project etc.
Communicating in many ways—Sharing a joke is often a bonding experience, especially if 2 people have the same sense of humour. I often send a silly cartoon via Facebook to my brother.
Self education—I’ve learned a heck of a lot about many things I really had no idea about, from cooking to skydiving.
Insight into someone’s personality—Do you want to know more about the babysitter you may hire for your child? Check out their Facebook page.
All in all, there are many more ways in which Facebook can be utilized. Learning about privacy settings, circles of friends and how to ignore nasty comments……….it’s all up to you! Between you and me, social media is here to stay and allows us to connect to folks we never would have been able to.
What’s up the pike after Facebook? I wish I knew!