Wednesday, March 28, 2012
If you're reading this blog, the odds are high that you also are a Facebook friend of mine. If that's the case, I don't need to explain that I am a very active Facebook user--perhaps too active. Many people, my husband among them, fundamentally do not understand the allure of Facebook or, in fact, the interest in sharing so much with others. I'm one of those people who immediately posts new photos (although rarely of myself) and frequent random thoughts as status updates. I'm certain that several of my Facebook friends have blocked my frequent posts from their news feed for my excessive content and their lack of interest.
I've been thinking about what exactly I so enjoy about Facebook and why (not being hyperbolic) I'm quite grateful for it. I think it's a factor of the stage of life I'm in--both my age and the fact that I am a stay-at-home-mom (or "homemaker," as I affirmed to a medical office receptionist this week, almost without giggling).
At my age, with the level of education my spouse and I have and the types of jobs we've held, we are far from home and have moved several times. We have friends scattered pretty widely. If I lump them into buckets of time and place, I have friends from growing up, college, law school, Atlanta, the Bay Area, Chicago, and now Rhode Island. Facebook is a means of connecting, even on a small level, with these people all over the country and the world. I most appreciate having frequent, more in-depth interaction with friends with whom I'd most likely otherwise exchange only Christmas cards or a once- or twice-a-year phone call. However, I also like that I've made contact with some people I'd truly have considered only acquaintances. As long as we truly had some past relationship--and didn't just attend the same school--and they have clever, interesting things to say, I'm interested to hear from them.
As someone who always has been a social person, my generation's acceptance of Facebook during my early parenting years has been a real blessing. Staying at home with children can be quite isolating, and often sharing my thoughts in a quick status update and getting a response from a friend is just enough social interaction to keep me going in the middle of the day. My husband works a fair amount--and, let's be honest, has little interest in the minutiae of my moment-to-moment thoughts that often appear on Facebook--at best I have time to chat with a friend once or twice a week (often with kids running around interrupting us), and my kids are, well, kids. Fascinating in their own right, but hardly fulfilling my craving for witty rejoinders.
So, thank you Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook employees, and all of you Facebook friends who keep me company. You're each adding just a little dose of social to my otherwise fairly quiet existence. Please keep in touch.