Despite myself, FaceBook has become important to me. I realize how much so when I notice I haven’t seen my next door neighbors in months, nor do I have any idea what they’re up to. On the other hand I’m up-to-date with current events from childhood buddies last seen half a century ago, who are scattered around the globe. I’m talking of course about the ones who I am friends with on Facebook. There is a new community in my life—the virtual one. A former boy friend from a very long time ago, who now lives safely out-of-range of physical contact on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, has become my faithful Facebook correspondent.
At recent book event, I met for the first time, an author I’ve been ‘friends’ with for several months on Facebook. There was that good feeling of already knowing her.
I’m lucky enough to have several old friends with whom I talk on the phone every week or two even though they live far away. They are resistant for good and not-so-good reasons to joining Facebook. When I try and articulate the fact they are missing out on something it’s hard to find a compelling reason. And yet, I feel like I’m not as close to them as I am to active Facebook friends. Maybe it’s the difference between phone conversations and a screen with photos and comments?
My dad has some problems receiving photos as attachments in emails and one of Facebook’s obvious strengths is the ability to display photos easily to whomever you choose. My dad will be astonished to see photos from friends and relatives, once he remembers his password and takes the plunge of returning to Facebook. But, like a lot of things you can only suggest something like Facebook. People have to discover for themselves the charms of virtual community.
One of the things we all complain about social media is who cares about the tiny details of any person’s life? But joking aside, it is seeing what people post over time, pictures, and text (sometimes video) that gives you insight into who a person really is. I can’t wait to see a friend’s new baby’s pictures. It is like seeing a newspaper devoted to the friends I’ve connected to. I can hardly wait for the reluctant ones.
The latest addition to my virtual community life: an internet radio interview! Listen in