Almost immediately after posting my 10 Things That Drive Me Crazy About Facebook post, I thought, “Since it’s a love/hate relationship, isn’t it only fair that I post the “love” side as well?” Otherwise, I’m only telling half the story. Here then, in no particular order, are my ten most favorite things about Facebook, and the reasons that I keep sticking around, duck faces and all.
1. It helps me find my “people.” I don’t fit in in a lot of places. To be more accurate, I don’t fit in most places. But thanks to groups and pages on Facebook, I’ve been able to find other people who get it. People who get what it’s like to be a Christian who’s judged by other Christians for not being a conservative Republican (or really, for not being a conservative anything). People who get what it’s like to be very much alone in most Christian circles for things like being a strong advocate of gay marriage. People who get not just unschooling, but radical unschooling. People who get gentle parenting, and people who get the difference between gentle parenting and permissive parenting. People who get and accept ME… in all my weird, perfectly imperfect, God-loving, life-learning, free-thinking, system-bucking glory.
2. It’s reconnected me with people from my past. Whenever I think of my past, it’s with a strange sort of disconnection. It’s not that I had a bad childhood or adolescence (I didn’t, at all), it’s just that I always felt like more of a passive observer than an active participant. I didn’t know who I was, or what I was doing, or what I wanted really. Since I barely understood myself, my connections with others were… limited. So it’s been really really cool to reconnect with people from my past… from old high school classmates (some of whom I barely knew), to people I used to go to church with, to relatives I haven’t seen for 30 years… and to be able to get to know them through newly found adult perspective and experiences.
3. It’s an introvert’s dream mode of communication. Seriously. I get to decide who’s at the party that is Facebook. I can make people go away with one little click of a button. I get to decide how often I check in, and when, and for what purpose. If I’ve had enough, all I have to do is close my laptop. I can sit back and just listen and watch and observe as much as I want, and I only have to talk when I want to talk. And the best part is, I don’t have to physically “talk” at all! For someone whose preferred mode of communication is the written word anyway, it just doesn’t get much better.
4. It delivered an unexpected apology. When I was 15, I had a boyfriend named Bobby. Though there’d be other boys after him, until I met my now-husband Mike, Bobby was always “the one”. The one that got away. The one that I’d measure all future guys against. When he broke up with me, it was the kind of heartbreaking teenage devastation so severe that I felt like I’d just Never. Get. Over. It. Squashed me like a bug. Alas, I did eventually get over it, and happily (if with some battle scars) went on with my life. About four years ago, we briefly – and innocently – connected on Facebook, and in the ensuing conversation I got something I never ever ever thought I’d receive: An apology for those hurts so many, many years before. Would the sun have continued to rise and set if I’d never gotten it? Of course. But I’ll tell you what… unexpected apologies are pretty wonderful things, even when it’s for something that happened 24 years ago. Even when it’s for something that’s been long ago forgiven.
5. It makes me smarter. Okay, so maybe I shouldn’t go so far as to say it actually makes me smarter, but, dang… I have a lot of interesting friends who post a lot of interesting things. Things that push me, and challenge me, in the best possible way. Articles that make me think. Videos that make me cry. Blog posts that make me feel inspired. I mean, sure, it’s got plenty of mind-numbing drivel too… but in between the grumpy cat pictures and the Ryan Gosling “Hey Girl” memes, there’s some good good stuff to be had. It’s a veritable and unending stream of up to the minute information.
6. It gives me immediate answers to my questions. I try really hard not to use it for this purpose too often, because I figure it’s probably fairly annoying, but I LOVE that I can post a question – whether it’s for a recommendation for a local thai place, a confusion I have about WordPress, the best organization app for Android, or anything in between – and immediately get a dozen responses. Last night, Tegan was playing with some of her Disney princess figurines, and didn’t know what two of their names were. I uploaded a picture, and within minutes had my answer (Aurora and Tiana, in case you were wondering.) That there is just plain awesome.
7. It makes me laugh. I don’t always want to be challenged or inspired or moved. Sometimes I just want to see, read, or listen to things that make me laugh. Facebook provides that in spades.
8. It lets me know I’m not alone. I think that sometimes (or often) all we really need is to feel connected. To feel like we’re not alone. Yes, even us card-carrying introverts. Facebook can be invaluable in helping to fulfill this need. A couple of clicks and a few strokes of the keyboard, and we’re there. Someone’s listening, and someone understands. I have 500 something friends on Facebook, and it honestly comforts me just to know that at any given time, someone has been through whatever it is I’m going through… whether it’s the frustration of ongoing physical pain, or the heartbreak of seeing my children hurt in any way, or just the day-to-day struggles that come on the journey of being a mom (and a human). Someone gets it.
9. It keeps me in touch with far-away family. My parents and my sister and her family all live here in Arizona. Everyone else – from Mike’s entire family to all my extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins – all still live on the east coast. Thanks to Facebook and their posts, pictures, and updates, their goings-on are here on my computer every day, which is the next best thing to actually being together.
10. It’s an outlet. For many many years, I kept a journal. I really don’t anymore, at least not with any regularity, but that need to just… purge.. is still there. I don’t believe in therapy, and I intensely dislike the phone. But if I feel a pressing need to immediately get something off my chest, and no one’s around to listen? Facebook is there.
And really, that just sums it all up… when it comes right down to it, Facebook is always there.
(If you haven’t yet read the things that drive me crazy about Facebook, you can find that here.)