I joined Facebook a few months ago mostly out of curiosity. My children all had FB accounts and I would watch over their shoulders when they were at my house checking their FB accounts. They showed me the friends they had re-connected with and the games they were currently playing. I was mildly curious and then one day my good friend, Pam, joined FB and requested to be friends with my daughter. Pam was on Facebook ? Now I was even more curious. Of course, Pam doesn't always know what she is doing on FB such as the time she reprimanded one of her adult children on FB and he had to remind his mother that she couldn't do that - it is one of the unspoken FB rules - no disciplining children via FB. Pam openly admits that one of the reasons she is on FB is to spy on her children. But we all know she is joking. Sort of. My favorite Pam FB story though has to do with LOL. Pam would write LOL on many posts and at times it seemed odd that she would be laughing out loud when people were posting rather sad news. And then one day Pam's FB status stated: 'OMG. I just found out what LOL means. I thought it meant Lots of Love. I had no idea it meant Laugh Out Loud. I am sorry if I offended anyone. ' And when Pam, in her lovable, giggly Pam way called me and we discussed the LOL situation, she stated that she felt that LOL should be changed to Lots of Love because it makes more sense. I informed her that I'm not sure how we would go about changing the whole world's understanding of those three letters: LOL. I do know that when I am with Pam I LOL a lot and I have LOL for her.
So with the help of my daughter I went about setting up my account and then I waited. I became friends with my children and Pam. I tentatively asked another person to be my friend and held my breath while they decided if they would accept my invitation. Yes! They said Yes! They'll be my friend. I feel loved. I feel wanted. I feel accepted. I feel like I am back in 7th grade. Oh great.
I continue to collect my friends on FB and we have had some wonderful reunions. I found some dear college friends who I have missed dearly and we are now planning a real person reunion. I actually get teary at times when I read messages or updates from these wonderful people. Even though many years have passed, our friendship is still alive and treasured.
I stay connected with people within my own community which is wonderful yet at the same time I realize the importance of having real life social interactions with these friends. Face to face. Hugs. Handshakes. Real LOL.
And most recently I have started connecting with many people who went to high school with me. This has been an interesting journey and at times has caused mixed emotions within me. I was never one of the popular girls. But it didn't really matter because I had a strong core group of friends who accepted me for who I was, friends to laugh with, friends to have adventures with, friends who supported me through those very difficult years. We were never invited to the popular kids parties, and at times we were teased and bullied by some of the popular kids. My self-confidence was low, at times non-existent, and most days I walked through the halls of school praying I would make it through the day without any verbal or physical abuse occurring. I am the woman I am today because of my past. I work hard to support the underdog. I will not tolerate bullying. I want everybody to play nice in the sandbox. I am a fierce protector of my loved ones.
And now thirty five years have passed. Reconnecting with people who didn't really know me. And I didn't really know them. People who might never have spoken more than ten words to me throughout my high school years. Maybe they were shy. Maybe my protective shield kept them away. People who have written kind words on my FB Wall. People who are reaching out to me. People who had many of the same self-confidence issues as I did although I couldn't see that at the time. People who had difficulties of their own but I couldn't see past my own issues. People who have experienced lots of life over the past 35 years. And because of Facebook I have the opportunity to finally have friendships with these people. And when we get together for our 35th reunion I will party like a rock star with my high school classmates, my high school friends, after all these years.
I have heard the complaints about Facebook. It is a time sucker. It can be addicting. But it is also allowing people to reach out and reconnect. It is allowing friendships to flourish. It is allowing the world to be that much smaller, that much friendlier. And that is a good thing.