O.K….I know this is supposed to be the intellectual equivalent of admitting to reading paperback novels from the grocery store (oops, I do that, too. I’ll basically read anything), but I love Facebook. I know I am not alone because the rise of “social networking,” is a favorite media topic at the moment. I don’t have any high-brow sociological reasons for my enjoyment of checking in on my friends near and far all at once – I just like it. Here are some of the reasons:
- The chance to “bump into” and reconnect with friends from clear back to childhood who had somehow slipped away and are now rediscovered. What a joy.
- Pictures of my amazing, beautiful grandchildren.
- “Conversations,” like one today between my daughter and some of her friends that consisted almost entirely of dialogue quotes from “Steel Magnolias.” It was all over before I even saw it, but it still made me smile. Girls, you know I love you more than my luggage.
- More pictures of my amazing, beautiful grandchildren.
- Ministry opportunities. Yes, I said Ministry opportunities. Chances to let a lot of people know about an event, a book, a movie, a song, or just a great quote that tells something about life with Jesus.
- The occasional opportunity to “chat” via instant messaging with friends I haven’t seen in years.
- Finding out all sorts of things about my friends and their families, complete with pictures.
- Did I mention the grandchildren?
I admit, Farmville makes no sense to me, and I blocked it and all the other games a long time ago. After one of them turned out to be a computer virus, I quite reposting status statements of any kind, or following links without checking them out first. I assume my family knows I love them even if I don’t “post this to your status if you love your son, daughter, husband,” etc.
I don’t understand the criticism of electronic-based social media as artificial or not real. Any relationship, no matter how it is conducted, is as real and as personal as the people involved want to make it. Not all relationships have to be incredibly deep and intimate. Sometimes you can just enjoy the company of friends, whether in person or posted on the News feed on facebook.
When my mom had her strokes, and I was spending long hours in the hospital staring at monitors and walls, posting on Facebook about it let me reach out for, and receive, encouragement, humor, and prayers from friends all over the country and beyond. When she died, it was a way to tell people who cared without the need for repeating it a hundred painful times.
So, when I’m not reading one of those grocery store novels, you may find me checking the news of my friends on Facebook, and sharing some of my own. I’m willing to risk it for the sake of just plain fun and friends.