Sunday, January 18, 2009

My Evaluation of Facebook

You may recall that a few months ago Matt introduced me to Facebook and tried to convince me to join, which set off a flurry of comments, pro and con, when I posted about it. The folks who loved Facebook really loved it, the naysayers were equally adamant.

I finally decided I really should sign up, not because it felt like I was the only one still Out of the Loop, but because it would be a good way to stay abreast of my big kids' lives. But I kept putting it off. Then when we were in Virginia, Emily said, "Mom, I think you should sign up on Facebook as soon as you have 300,000 hits on your blog."

"Ok," I said, thinking that would be weeks away. But the next time I checked I was already more than 200 hits over. Oops. (Not that I mind, all of you faithful readers). "I'll do it after we get home," I said.

"No, let's do it now," said Matt, who was sitting there with a laptop on his lap. He began clicking and tapping as only Matt can click and tap, and before I quite knew what was happening I was all signed up.

Within a day I had 50 emails regarding whether or not I would officially be friends with people, or they with me, heady stuff for someone who was so unpopular in high school she would spend her lunch hours reading in the library rather than interacting with people. Within a week I had 75 friends and even my vivacious daughter was jealous. Whoa, this was fun.

We flew home and I would check my Facebook page expecting....I'm not sure what. Something amazing and profound, I think. Something life-impacting. And all I would see was a series of little blips on my page that said things like:
Emily Smucker is now friends with Abraham McCullough.
Tom Troyer is a fan of Voice of Praise.
Glen Zehr is discouraged.
Alisa Johnston would like to be your friend.

And I thought--"Wait. That's it??"

After I got over that little disappointment I found some surprisingly nice things about Facebook.

One evening I logged on and soon a little flag in the corner popped up and there was Arlene, sending me a little message. I typed one in return, and soon we had a fun conversation going in which I learned all kinds of interesting tidbits that I've been missing out on, having been traveling or sick ever since Christmas. And I didn't have to talk, which is nice when you have a sore throat.

Then I discovered pictures, including a bunch that Bethany C. had posted of Bible school, which assured me that Amy was in good company and doing fine.

I also found that it was easier for me to post and organize pictures on Facebook than on Blogger, and believe me, anything that makes posting pictures easier is a good thing.

The other cool thing was that I began to catch up with people from my past as they popped up as friends of friends. Karen, whose dad was our pastor years ago, and I hadn't seen her in years. Barb, my cousin's son's wife, whom I hadn't seen since she was newly married and pregnant at a Miller reunion, and now she has 5 or 6 children and makes amazing scrapbook pages.

None of the fearful warnings I received have been necessary yet. I don't find it tempting to spend a lot of time on Facebook. If I don't want to chat I just click the green button on the corner to make it red. And no one has tried any foolishness such as throwing sheep or cockleburrs at me.

I still prefer face-to-face conversations above all. On the computer, I prefer to catch up with people through email or blogs, both of which tend to contain whole paragraphs rather than mere headlines.

But Facebook is fine if you expect it to do only what it is able to do.

Quote of the Day:
"It's not that I have a bone to grind with anyone."
--Paul, in a sermon, and then he wondered why some of us were grinning. I don't have a bone to grind with anyone about Facebook either.


  1. Ha! I am first!

  2. I love your quote of the day. Malapropisms are so great. I have one to share from our friend, the Word Butcher. "When pastors are insecure I've seen it cause a fraction in the congregation." =D I'm not sure if he meant faction or fracture, but I was too busy trying not to embarrass myself my giggling to ask. =D I can just see the 3/4ths lining up against the 2/3rds. LOL

  3. I'm also new to facebook and is it just me, or is it a lot of work? Every time I check my e-mail there are facebook messages. Some I'm realizing I can just delete. I mean why would I care if someone I don't even know has commented on the facebook of someone I do know?

    I just haven't had time to really explore what it can do and will probably come to really like its many features. Just like it took a while to really embrace blogging. Which I still prefer :-)

  4. I joined Facebook at the urging of a grandaughter and my initial reaction was "How shallow!" I almost bailed a couple of times. But I find out news tidbits about friends that I'd not know otherwise and find it doesn't take long to check for anything new if I do so frequently. The access to photos is a real plus and I, too, had a very interesting friend invitation. Who was this young woman? I finally figured out that she rode on the schoolbus that I drove more than 20 years ago!

  5. Facebook has some fun word games too. Scramble, Word Twist, another one I can't remember the name of---I think it's Pathwords-- are fun. As you can see with my forgetfulness, brain exercises might be needed! You can play solo, but have your friends' high scores there to compete against.~Edith

  6. Like I said once upon a time: Facebook is The Budget on steroids. ;-)