Friday, March 23, 2012

We’re Facebook Friends...?

   Facebook...the revolutionary vision of a man that has changed the way we interact with each other. Well, that’s a little too much spin...more like the revolutionary application of a social site from a modest vision of a man that has changed the way we interact. Yeah...that’s better, and more accurate.
   I honestly don’t think I can write anything about Facebook that hasn’t already been written...but I’m going to try anyway. The only real experience that anyone can write about with certainty that it will be unique, is their own experiences. Most people seem to be having a good experience with it, if we believe the reports on the number of users. Some have had horrible experiences...and those reports make for interesting reading, to say the least. My philosophy is Facebook is what you make of it. How you use it will determine what your interactions will be...within the confines of human behavior, of course. However, as this social network expands, it’s all for naught if we are not expanding our personal relationships.
   How many Facebook friends do you have? How many of them are people you really know...or what is more important, people that really know you? I’ve met people on Facebook and have had very positive interactions...on Facebook. This type of social interaction is very different though from spending time with someone (in the real world) and getting to know who they really are. Let’s face it...on Facebook, you can be anybody and the presentation may not always be an accurate representation. If we are not using Facebook to build real relationships, then what are we using it for?

   I get many uses out of it...chief among them is keeping in touch, almost instantly, with many people, friends, and family that otherwise would probably be lost to me as I shuffle through the kaleidoscope of my life. I know I’m horrible at picking up the phone, so it’s a great tool for me to facilitate communication. Anyone owning or doing business can certainly find a use for the marketing capability Facebook presents. I have also gotten this type of use out of it. It has also been fabulous at connecting with people that I would otherwise never get the opportunity to interact with as they hustle through their busy schedules bringing you and I the entertainment we enjoy.
   Yes...Facebook has many uses, but if a difference is going to be made on a level that truly matters, then it occurred to me that I should be using it to build real connections...and move away from “Facebook” friends...and into just friends. The fact that I can walk by someone and not have a clue that we were in a fascinating conversation a week earlier just boggles me. Worse than that is the eerie feeling that I know a complete stranger...their visage familiar to me because my subconscious mind has stored it within the catacombs of my brain after seeing their picture on Facebook. Ever notice the increasing number of people walking around with that “I know you from somewhere” look?
   I was recently approached with the quickly becoming classic opener...”we’re Facebook friends” and was disappointed in myself for not knowing the truth of that phrase. I have many Facebook friends, but not much time to get to know operational fact I’m now seeking to change. As my network expands, I’m realizing it’s a very small world...and shrinking all the time. However, it will become larger, in a sense, when the “cyber” is taken out of the space we occupy...and the “human” is put back into the relations we have.
   “Hello, I’m just dropping in (your Facebook page) to see how you're doing and hoping that all is going well.” It’s a start....

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