So I was just inspired. I was on facebook. Yes, you heard me – facebook has inspired me to write a blog.
Well, after my numbers rant, I decided that I kind of like to rant (or rave) on specific topics. Today, my target is facebook.
Most of you probably have facebook. I know I do. I don’t know that I could be classified as OCFD (Obsessive Compulsive Facebook Disorder) but I do know that I log in very regularly. I wouldn’t say an unhealthy amount, but more than I thought I ever would when I signed up for the digital drug we all call facebook. Not going to lie, but I need my daily fix they way some people need coffee (I usually prefer my facebook in the afternoon though, not in the early morning).
Facebook has truly transformed my life, as well as the lives of those around us for many reasons. To start off with, I love its birthday reminder. When I first got a hotmail (I think I was maybe eleven, but I loved to get junk mail because it made me feel important) I signed up for that email birthday tracker, but honestly, how many people would actually respond to the website and send out their birthday info? Maybe six? With facebook, I know when almost all my friends birthdays are. I can send them a birthday wish, or remember to phone them up for coffee or something. I am terrible at remembering birthdays (it’s genetic sadly, as my dad forgot my sixteenth birthday) so with this, I don’t really have to. Of course, my Gramma doesn’t have facebook, let alone a computer, so I’ll just be extra careful to remember it, but for the most part, all of the birthdays I would normally forget, I now can be reminded! Honestly, who can remember 400 people’s birthdays? (Answer: facebook).
Facebook also is great for notifying. This leads into my slowly evolving epiphany. To start, I went to Ireland for three weeks this summer and was completely incommunicato for the entire time, which was nice to be completely disconnected, which, I again won’t lie, was very nice. But when I got back, I didn’t know what had happened all summer, had 200 some emails, and bunch of notifications on my facebook home page. I got caught up pretty quickly (but it was aided by a few sleepovers and coffee breaks). So I began not to think of myself as a facebook junkie, as much, at least because I know if I really want to, I can quit and not die.
Next event that aided my epiphany – when I got home, I began to slowly resume my life. I started dating my boyfriend, and then changed my relationship status – with in 24 hours friends from everywhere (including Italy) were inquiring and keeping updated. It was kind of weird, but cool to see how just a ten second post got to so many people.
Another thing that helped my epiphany evolve was today: I logged on to facebook, and low and behold, my friend is engaged! Holy! You see, I haven’t really been able to talk to her for about a year and a half now, just because since high school our lives have gone in separate directions. Now, honestly, I would have never known that had it not been for facebook.
So I’ll get to my point now, my epiphany. I have decided that facebook isn’t just about having another account somewhere and just solely for social purposes. It is a very effective medium for communication. You can easily connect with friends (I can chat with my Aunt and cousin in Nova Scotia easily) and network (I am friends with the editor of a magazine completely dedicated to baton twirling), catch up on what’s new in the lives of your friends, share pictures (instead of mailing around albums or paying to print of a bazillion copies of a roll of film) and video, support causes, show pride in groups, become a fan of specific things (I don’t think I am a fan of anyone/thing right now, but we’ll see) and so much more. How cool is that? Really and truly, you couldn’t possibly be able to email with four hundred friends to see how they are all doing. It just isn’t feasible. But you can with facebook.
Now, I know that there are still skeptics out there who refuse to join the digital drug or try to just be different (AKA my boyfriend) but facebook has become a medium for communication, not just a website. Facebook has even become regular in language! [“Wanna go for coffee?” “Oh sure! Just facebook me when and where!”, “I’ll put these pics on facebook”, “When are you coming home?” “I’ll write on your wall when I geth home.”] All of these examples just go to prove that facebook is part of our culture the way hamburgers are.
The is one major problem, as there is with any drug – abuse. When does facebook become unhealthy? When does it become a replacement for normal social functioning? When does it become an alterior life? When is it unproffessional to facebook with an aquaintance? These are all boundaries that are personal and need to be set and strictly enforced by the user. I know how hard it can be to say “only five minutes today, then I must do my homework” but it needs to be done. It is key to set out guidelines for appropriate use as well.
My coach, who moved to Virginia, would not add us as friends until she moved away, just to keep a professional distance. My choral instructor wouldn’t add us until we graduated from high school. I use a limited profile for my students who add me.
Okay, that brings me to another point. I think there is some problem when a seven year old has facebook. Firstly, she lied about her age to get it. Secondly, she can barely spell so she can barely type. Thridly, why isn’t she out playing with her friends? This really concerns me, almost more than little kids with cell phones.
So in conclusion of this rather crazy and somewhat incoherant rant, I have to say that facebook is like coffee. It is great, however you like it. There just comes a point when it is too much. So, pretty much all I’m saying is that there needs to be boundaries, but those boundaries shouldn’t stop you from networking and interacting. Facebook is somewhat new medium for communication, so don’t stamp it out, but handle with care.