This is a blog I’ve been planning to write for some time. Now is as good a time as any–especially since it is hot and humid outside, and still relatively cool here–in front of my computer. The summer is winding down, and fall offers fewer moment of free time to reflect and share
There are more than enough media stories in which Facebook is derided, slammed, put down, mocked, ridiculed, and even excoriated. I offer a dissenting view. I really love Facebook. Oh, sure ; it sometimes occupies a bit too much of my time, but–in general–I control it rather than letting it control me.
It offers me the chance the converse–online-with hundred of facebook friends, colleague, associates, and friends of friends. Converse about what? Well, anything, but for me it is often about politics, photography, education, travel, and many other subjects. I enjoy reading about and reveling in the accomplishments and joys of friends and their families. I really enjoy seeing my cousins, nephews, and nieces grow up through their parents’ stories and photos. I love reading about the exploits of my former students–now all grown up, out of college and (hopefully) thriving in the world and doing their parts to help people and the world in which we all live. I have formed good friendships with former students who are now 25, 35, 45, or even 50 years old. So many are married. Many have children; some have grandchildren. They have become doctors, lawyers, electricians, company vice presidents, t.v. reporters, carpenters, politicians, journalists, salesmen, rock band stars, gymnasts, actors, professors, writers, store clerks, musicians, artists—and teachers! Most of all, they have become fascinating and involved adults!
I tell people that Facebook is different things to different people, and it meets the needs of so many. For some, it is like a diary; for others it is more like a journal or a blog. For some, it is a place to share recipes or family photos. For others, it is a place to share joys or heartaches.
I often compare facebook to (of all things) an online Disney EPCOT. Those who have visited EPCOT can–hopefully relate to this. At EPCOT, you are surrounded by exhibit of all sizes, themes, and styles. Just a few would be (in no particular order) the Universe of Energy, the American Experience, the Canada Pavilion, the China Pavilion, Mission Space, Journey into Imagination, Living with the Land, and so many others. If you are interested in the theme, you venture in, sit down, enjoy, and learn. If you are interested in Mexico, you drop my the Mexico Pavilion and you “Explore a towering Aztec pyramid featuring the Animales Fantastico folk art collection, a lively marketplace, the lagoon-side historic restaurant San Angel Inn and a relaxing boat ride on the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros.” If that doesn’t interest you, why then you pass right by that exhibit, and perhaps you stop at The Seas with Nemo and Friends Pavilion where you “Stare in wonder at a massive aquarium that holds one of the largest man-made ocean environments in the world, the innovative Turtle Talk with Crush show, a “clamobile” ride and other undersea-themed delights.” Not wowed by that exhibit? Well, then maybe you’ll stop by National Treasures where you can “Observe the rare historic artifacts of important Americans and U.S. events. You’ll be awestruck seeing Abraham Lincoln’s stovepipe hat, Thomas Edison’s projector and the belongings of Mark Twain, Rosa Parks and others up close.” The point here is that you stop and look and participate in those areas in which YOU are interested.
Facebook is very similar. You go to the site, and are confronted by a plethora of possible stories competing for your attention. Interested in movies or music? See what your friend are viewing or listening to, and check out their opinions. Not interested? Pass right by. Interested in family photos? Check them out—hundreds are posted daily. Check out one or two, or ten or twenty. Not interested? Pass right by. Interested in politics? Want to talk about Obama or Romney or Scott Brown or Elizabeth Warren or Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner? Great! Stop in. Debate the issues. Not interested? Again, pass on by…….ignore those posts. Interested in food? Check out the recipes that people post, or the restaurants they go to, or the pictures of the “best meal they ever ate.” Love nature? or travel? or pets? Check out some of the gorgeous photography posted. Not interested in that? Just “walk on by.” Want some daily inspiration? Check out some of the lovely posters that people display that help you to start off the day right, or to put your own problems into perspective. Need some help with a problem.? Well, if you don’t mind sharing your problem, you can find many close friends, friends, or friends of friends who will offer their own solutions or just lend an ear and empathize with you. Not into sharing problems? Well, you don’t have to; nor do you NEED to spend time reading about the problems of others–if you don’t want to. But sometimes, it IS nice to be able to offer a helpful idea, a birthday wish, or a few words of consolation or condolence. But the key is that it is UP TO YOU! Stop by the areas that YOU want to, and walk right by those areas in which you are not interested or in which you can not spare the time to stop.
You can go on Facebook as little as once a week or once a month, and spend just 5-10 minutes on there reading and/or commenting. Or….you can go on it as often as daily or even several times a day. Sometimes I’m on for just 5 minutes or so–catching up on a little news that my brother or my nephew or niece –or my best friends–have posted. I click “LIKE” a couple of times on a few postings, and then I’m off. Other days I’m on for 15-30 minutes where I am reading and commenting on postings from others which attract my attention or interest. Then there are days like today, when I’m writing a long political post or an editorial-type post or when I’m sharing a series of my own photographs—days when I CHOOSE to be on for an hour or two or even three–because I ENJOY what I am doing—or because I am trying to make a difference in some way.
This is Facebook–many different things to so many different people. And here’s one person who really likes it, appreciates it…………and is not afraid to admit it!