Sometimes you just have to write…

Why I’m a Facebook fan

People seem to love to complain about Facebook. They complain about the ads, about the privacy settings that keep getting changed, about the switch to a new format, or about whatever other changes the company has come up with this week.

I know that each time the company changes something, I have to go back through my privacy settings carefully to make sure they haven’t changed. I have to ignore the ads – generally for weight-loss products or, ironically, dresses that only the skinniest of women could ever wear. I have to readjust to whatever new format has appeared from one day to the next.

Nevertheless, I love Facebook. I love it because of all of the everyday trivialities I get to read there. I know that most people hate that: hearing what a friend cooked for dinner, accompanied by a photo of said dinner, or seeing dozens of pictures of the new baby of a colleague, or watching funny cat videos.

Those trivialities keep me connected to people I would not have any contact with otherwise.

In the old days (putting on my old fogey cap here), we had to write letters or call. If you were nearby, calling was fine, and I kept up with lots of people that way. But long-distance calling, on the other hand, was expensive, so you saved it for the once-a-year birthday call.

Writing letters was the only other option, and I was terrible at that. I knew that I should, but, I suppose, the fact that I felt an obligation to do it meant that I didn’t want to. I procrastinated – a lot – and lost touch with people who had been important in my life at one stage or another.

Since I joined Facebook, though, I’ve reconnected with people: friends from as far back as elementary school, ex-boyfriends, relatives. Many of them are people who have meant a lot to me at one point or other in my life. These people are spread all around the world: the US, Canada, Austria, the UK, Israel, Australia, to name a few.

If my childhood friends and I had stayed anywhere near where I grew up, I wouldn’t want to hear all of the trivialities of people’s lives. I’d know those details already because I’d see these people regularly. But I live in the Netherlands, and I have two jobs and a family, and I don’t get to see many of these people who have made such a difference in my life.

Some examples:

  • My boyfriend from college, Chris, has the cutest little son, and occasionally posts videos or photos of him. I love to see them, and to share Chris’s delight in this special little person.
  • The same goes for my Israeli cousin, Tamar, and her husband, Michael, and the pictures they post of their kids. And my Canadian cousin, Nicole, and her kids. And lots of others…
  • My high school friend, Lori, posts about the creative outside-the-box comments her son makes.
  • My best friend from college, Stuart, and his husband, John, are leaders in the battle for marriage equality in the US. I love seeing their press postings and keeping up with their efforts. Stuart also posts gorgeous photos of flowers from his garden or odd sightings from his walks in his San Francisco neighborhood. These help me feel like I’m still close to him, sharing what he experiences.
  • My old friend since elementary school, Jenny, creates some amazing ceramics, which I love to see.
  • My niece and nephew are growing up at an alarming rate, but I don’t feel like I’m missing quite as much as I might otherwise since I often see photos or videos of them or hear about their latest exploits.

So, friends and relatives, keep feeding me the trivialities of your everyday life. It makes me happy. It makes me feel like I’m still a part of your life, if only as an outside observer. And thank you, Facebook, for making this so accessible and easy!

I’d also love to hear how you feel about Facebook: does it improve your life?

7 comments on “Why I’m a Facebook fan

  1. Anita-Clare Field
    April 6, 2013

    I couldn’t agree more with you. I adore seeing my friends and families life evolve. I’m a huge facebook fan

  2. Lori Fassman
    April 6, 2013

    I love Facebook for SO many reasons, including…

    – It’s an awesome place to get advice (parenting, gardening, computers, etc.) from people I know and trust.

    – I was able to determine (via Facebook photos) if my cousin who I hadn’t seen in 30 years has pierced ears and what colors she wears, so I could pick out a good birthday gift for her 50th birthday party.

    – Twice enabled me to meet up with an old friend who recently became a breast cancer survivor because we were in the same place at the same time (and found out about this via FB posts). Also enabled me to hear details about her battle while she was going through it.

    – Awesome way to spread the word about singing parties, gigs, etc.

    – Adds an enormous layer to my relationships with co-workers that I’ve known a long time but didn’t really know at all. When we bump into each other in the hall, we have more to say to each other than just “hi”. (“Hey, your vacation looked like a lot of fun!” “Congrats to your daughter for the great job she did at her ballet recital!”)

    – Helps my anti-social spouse keep in touch with his college buddies (with whom I’m Facebook friends). He refuses to join but looks over my shoulder.

    – I learn mountains about political and social topics, from friends on both/all sides of an argument. (In “real life” I’m surrounded by liberal Democrats so I only get to hear one side of every argument!)

  3. Shelli Johnson
    April 6, 2013

    Hi Rachel!

    I like Facebook for the same reasons you do: that I’ve connected with people I haven’t seen in years who now live all over the world. I found somebody I’d been trying to locate (that I went to high school with) within 5 minutes of doing a search for him on Facebook. Awesome.

    I will say, I’m not a fan of when they go changing things so that I either have to: 1. adjust my privacy settings or 2. spend more time figuring out how to work the changes.

    Glad we met via UBC. Have a great weekend!

  4. Rinelle Grey
    April 7, 2013

    I love facebook too. So many people I wouldn’t keep up with without it.

    I’m also loving the huge number of business pages I can subscribe to. Now I can keep up with the local events, specials at the store, the weather, local warnings, favourite authors etc, all from one page.

    Rinelle Grey

  5. Marjorie
    April 7, 2013

    I am one of the guilty parties you speak of that doesn’t like Facebook, but I am learning to use it more to my advantage so I can keep up with the people I want to keep up with.

  6. Meins
    April 17, 2013

    Totally agree with you Rachel I love your blogs and FBpost and FB! although I must admit that it is a bit of an addiction for me as well! :after email I always check FB and it takes up more time than I like to admit watching all the’must see’ video’s and thinking of creative oneliner responses!

  7. rachela
    April 17, 2013

    Nice to hear there are other people who are fans! I think your point probably applies to a lot of us, Meins. I try to use it as a sort of reward for finishing a task, but I can’t always resist the temptation!

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This entry was posted on April 6, 2013 by in Family, Life in Holland and tagged , , , .
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