Facebook. Fantastic. Is it only coincidence that these two words start with the same letter, and are alliterately similar? Methinks not so much a coincidence, after all.
What has Facebook done for me, you ask? Ohhhh, my dear, let me count the ways this product of the information super-highway has enriched my soul....
Facebook has given me a link, sometimes literally, to people I know, people I knew once, people I want to know better. People. Lives. The whole entire UNIVERSE, it seems. Maybe this makes me pathetic. But at least I'm in good company. :)
There's a lot of funny things about facebook, and funny ways to learn about people. For instance, you know by the information on your home page who has a business, kids, is married, is hopeful, is having a bad day, is going skiing for the weekend. I know more about some of these people than I ever knew when I knew them before. I know more about some of these people than I ever wanted to, in fact. Then there's the game addicts, the Farmville, Casino Land, Aquarium Master, Mafia Bosses. My current gauge of how interesting people's lives are is by visiting their profile. If more than 3 out of 5 recent posts are from these silly games, I know they must be lacking a little...or a lot of SOMETHING in their lives. Maybe just imagination?
On the other hand, stumbling upon my profile, one might find a random spattering of genuinely crazy rants, links, music, pictures of my cats, mundane status updates, drunken episodes, and perhaps something funny every so often.
Which is better? Being a truly open book and uncovering all of one's laundry, whether it be dirty or smelling irish-springs fresh? Or playing games and keeping your privacy settings wired like you house the Mona Lisa within?
I don't know the right answer, I just know what's right for ME, right now. And that is letting go, and letting people in. Letting myself be judged, read, seen....and not care what people say or think about any of it. Except, of course, when it's a good thing they say. I am addicted to seeing people "Like" my status, or comment. My heart picks up a beat or two when someone initiates a chat, or sends me a real message. Getting a friend request holds so much power sometimes, it's electrifying. Getting denied a friend request is disheartening, yet freeing and allows me to let go, figuratively, and literally.
One of the only Facebook applications I use is Iheart. I love it, which is the essence of the thing, I suppose. I send hearts to people because I want to say "hi" or "i love you" or "whasssup!". I send hearts to as many people as I can, as often as I can. I admit, I send hearts to people who send hearts back because I want to get hearts too. I send hearts to help Haiti, because they look pretty, to make someone's day, to let someone know I'm thinking about them. I send hearts, and I'll likely never stop. A few people have told me not to send them hearts anymore. Callous. Cold. Who doesn't have room in their lives for a heart? Really? But it's actually no big deal. I just send them to other people.
Facebook has brought people back to me that I will cherish forever, has gotten me closer to family, has reminded me how important the human connection really is. Facebook has also taught me that, in some circumstances, I was right to not want some people in my life. That their existence is made up of a lot of bullshit I don't care about, and never will. In snippets, Facebook provides a window into people's closets, journals, and secret hiding places. It is a place to share, and weren't we all taught as kids that sharing is caring?
This crazy forum is a place to cry, laugh, raise an eyebrow, learn, and play. It's a vessel upon which we sail in and out of each other's lives, as often or sparsely as we so wish. But for me, sometimes, it makes me ever so lonely. REAL human connection is what I crave. A touch, a smile, a hug, a story in full, a clink of the glass, a high five, a tissue handed over, a shared bowl of popcorn, a giggle-snort in all it's glory. Facebook makes me long for these things more than ever sometimes. But as it is, I'd rather have it virtually, than not at all.
So, to sum it up, I guess I can really say that Facebook has made my life a richer thing. It has created energy within me that wants to reach out, wants to KNOW people. Facebook has been, for me, a time-warp, a capsule opened up, a journey into unexplored territory, a connection. A blissful field of flowers; wise, beautiful, hopeful, funny flowers. Every day I pick a bunch, and LISTEN to what they write, and feel. Every day I find something on Facebook that makes me smile, frown, laugh out loud, or grimace. And sometimes, I find my own story, right in the middle of someone else's sentence, or photo, or link.
So, I'll be the first to say it - loud and proud - I LOVE YOU, FACEBOOK! Thanks for being the pod for my peas, the sun to my flower, the lighter for my cigarette, the spigot on my box of wine...you complete me.