Let’s face it. Facebook’s here to stay.
It’s hard to get my mind around the impact Facebook has had in the world, and on the way we keep in touch with people. The revolutionaries in Egypt used it to overthrow their government. The Syrian Free Press Facebook page provides “uprising updates”. Famous people have Facebook pages created for them as “Public Figures” whether they want it or not. Reporters grab quotes from politicians’ Facebook pages. Facebook is, well, in your face.
According to Digital Trends, Facebook is projected to hit 1 billion (with a “b”) users this month (http://www.digitaltrends.com/international/facebook-projected-to-hit-1-billion-active-users-by-august/). Where we used to “make a friend” or “befriend” someone, now there is a verb “to friend”. Where we used to just not call a particular friend any more, now we awkwardly “unfriend” them, or “hide them”, and hope they don’t notice. It’s the online equivalent of closing the blinds and turning off the lights when you see them coming.
I happen to love Facebook. I can keep in touch with my three siblings, who are in Tennessee, Arizona, and trekking through South America. Aside from snail mail birthday cards, we used to keep in touch via email or the occasional phone call. Now we check each other’s status and whereabouts, “like” the latest adventure, or just see what’s up. I am still partial to phone calls with family because laughter is always a big part of the conversation, and sticking in a :-) or a :) just isn’t the same.
Several years ago, I saw a magazine cover that screamed in horror, “Oh no. Mom’s on Facebook!” It gave me pause for about five minutes, but I had already joined and was busy “friending” folks. Now there are lots of Facebook pages specifically for mothers. A quick search turned up gems like “Moms Who Like Wine - Together, we revel in our imperfections and find solace in the fact that we're not going it alone.”
This past week, we had a houseguest from New England who was a Facebook Resister. By the fourth day, she was up and running. Why? Because she caught her first salmon, and she had a terrific picture of herself straining to hold that big Silver on the back of the boat! It wasn’t hard to convince her that sharing her Alaska Experience on Facebook would be a lot more fun than just emailing the photograph to her brother in Rhode Island. That shot became her profile picture. We added a picture of the adorable bear cubs out by the glacier, and, voila!, she was as hooked as that salmon.
As with all things online, Facebook can pull you away from contact with real live human beings. The keyboard and screen don’t hold a candle to a hug and a great conversation over a cup of hot coffee. Hmmm. That sounds good. I should tweet that.