Wednesday, February 10, 2010

This Phenomenon called Facebook

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.

14 comments:

2Shaye ♪♫ said...

Oh my goodness. I totally did LOL during this post. LOVE the Pam story.

My husband pulled me into FB and I've been amazed at the friendships that have been rekindled because of it. There were acquaintances I barely even knew during high school and we speak more regularly today through FB than we ever did way back when. I love that we all get a chance to see that we grew up and that many of us weren't all that different even if we great up on the proverbial "different sides of the tracks." I've also been amazed to have some of my husband's friends tell me they'd like to "friend" me -- people I've never even met before. After all, we ARE married, and how weird is it that we each have 400 friends but only 100 or so overlap. It's just plain weird at times.

Thanks for the wonderful post. And though I did LOL, I also do have Lots-Of-Love for you, my friend. :)

The Muse said...

all things in moderation? and i believe that yes, facebook has a place...glad you have found that it works for you and brings you a wee bit of joy! :)

Brian Miller said...

one thing i will say about FB...it has allowed me to reconnect with old friends...

Kim Mailhot said...

Mixed feelings about FB here, LOL ! ;)
I think the key for me is keeping my reasons for being on Facebook in the foreground. I want to connect to people in meaningful ways. Sometimes, a lot of what comes down the feed doesn't feel meaningful at all. Other times, it feels like a hug or a smile or a moment of connection with someone else in my world. That I like...
For now, I am in the flow...but I reserve the right to change my mind...
Lots of Love to you, Lovely Deb !

Akelamalu said...

I joined Facebook but I very rarely use it, I much prefer blogging. It's great that you've hooked up with so many people, I'm glad you're enjoying it. :)

Daryl said...

What a wonderful post ... I alternatively love/hate FB ... but I dont spend a lot of time there .. during the day I am supposed to be working (emailing replies to comments on my blog are done very quietly as are blog visits like this) and when I get home, after a day online I want nothing to do with the internet ...

SandyCarlson said...

As of right now: LOL = Lots of Love.

FB. I have a very common name in Sweden, apparently. I can't tell you how many Swedes thought I was someone else and requested me as a friend. Too funny.

Very useful to have a face on Facebook.

The Muse said...

(your V day wish..touched my heart...i believe mine would be along those lines as well....)

Willow said...

And now even you blogging friends are FB friends too!

I loved your post about your grandsons! Happy First Birthday to them both!

Jeni said...

I agree completely that FB can really suck the time from you and it is, yes, addictive too. I don't do any of the games on FB and can't even do some of the quiz things because I don't have a cell phone either. But that's okay -don't really need that part anyway. I don't remember exactly when I set up my FB account. My daughter here has had hers for probably a year now so maybe, for me, it's been six months I suppose, at most. I can't believe now the number of friends I have though -my kids, friends of my kids, old neighbors, one current neighbor, old friends from where I worked over 10 years ago that I found about a week ago and quite a few cousins's children (not so much my first cousins though.) And even a few friends from high school and in some cases, grandchildren of high school friends/neighbors as well. What a mixture! I have some blog friends on FB too -why don't I have you there? You can friend me anytime -just e-mail me.

TSannie said...

I've had a lot of fun with facebook - and twitter. So interesting the folks from my past I've reconnected with.

Screwed Up Texan said...

Would it be bad if I just LOLed at your friend's misunderstanding of the abbreviation?

Make sure you teach her:

BTW
LMBO
G2G
BRB
ROFLOL
IMHO

Obviously I've been sucked into FB.

MyMaracas said...

I joined Facebook this month to keep up with my kid at college. It's been a steep learning curve, but I'm beginning to see the attraction. I do not, however, "get" the whole Farm thing. I've been inundated with that stuff.

Louise said...

This is a great post/story.

Yes, FB can be addicting and a time sucker, but it is what we make it. People can choose to not spend so much time there. That's like blaming McDonald's for being fat.

I'm glad you've had such great experience. I've been on for a little over a year and mostly find it as rewarding as you do. I am truly grateful to have reconnected with some friends, going as far back as childhood. But I've also seen that the "mean girls" in high school and college haven't changed a lot. I was popular there, but definitely had enemies. (Usually jealous people.) It amuses me to see those same people acting exactly the same way more than 25 years later.

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