October 28, 2011

What is Facebook Really For?

The first time I logged onto Facebook was in September 2009.  I probably did what everyone else does in the beginning.  I started searching for all my old boyfriends, grade school friends, and distant family members.  I’m not going to lie I got caught up in the whole FB World.  All my daily duties were put on hold so I could search for my first love (Randy Lanham back in fifth grade).  Who cared if the kids had clean clothes, if there was fresh fruit in the house, or what was for dinner?  I was reconnecting with memories.

I even went so far as to make arrangements to meet up with a couple of friends from middle school that I hadn’t seen in probably 20+ years.   The whole experience made me feel like a giddy school girl.  I met my buds at a local bar/restaurant in the area.  On a side note, they looked exactly like I remembered.  How is that possible???  We are all 25 years older.  We talked and laughed for hours about all the old times, who we still kept up with, etc. etc. etc.  It was a fabulous time.

Before I knew it, I had over 100 virtual friends.  I was lovin’ it!!!!  Each day I would log on to see what all my “friends” were up too.  Then it hit and it hit hard . . . 

Was I that interested in the fact that Kelly had a hamburger for lunch?  Was it really a trip down memory lane to read that Ann was on her way to the grocery store?   Did I really care to know that Peter just burped?

This started me thinking.  What is the purpose of Facebook?   To monitor the daily (sometimes moment by moment) activities of “friends”.  It took me about a year and a half to realize that there really wasn’t anything interesting going on in FB land.  I literally was taking time out of my day to log on and catch up with what Bill had for lunch (with pictures).  The tide started to turn and I was suddenly going days without checking in with my peeps.  I never was one to update my status on any kind of a regular basis either.  Half the time, I would start updating my status and it would dawn on me.  Who cares what I’m up to?  I was on the verge of ending my relationship with Mr. FB.

Until September 2011.  I saw a post from one of my friends and it read: 

jack donaldson's story..please read, pray for his family and repost

On the way home from work that day, I had heard the story on the radio but had no idea it was a friend’s neighbor or near “my world”.  First thing I did when I got home was go to all the local news channels and websites to gather as much information as I could.   A 12 year old boy was playing in a creek in his neighbor’s backyard with a few of his friends in a rain storm.  The water rose up quickly and he was gone.  My heart broke.
One of my few childhood fun memories was of playing in a drainage ditch with my sisters and brother in the middle of a downpour.  Looking back now, probably not the smartest move for my mom to let 4 kids under the age of 10 play in a drainage ditch in the middle of a flash flood but thank God my story has an uneventful ending.
Immediately a community campaign started to rally around the family in need.  For the first time in my FB history, I reposted something on my status line.  It said:
Tie a Blue Ribbon for Jack:

Our neighborhood, Lawyers North, has tied royal blue ribbons around our mailboxes and trees to further show our love and support for the Donaldson family. We invite you to join us in this effort. Let's have blue ribbons throughout Vienna to show the strength and love of our community.

I immediately saw a community jump into action.  Comments started coming in by the minute.  Not only were people tying blue ribbons around their mailboxes, trees, and street poles they were offering to drop extra ribbon by anyone’s house who needed it in the area.  

And just like the Grinch "my heart grew three sizes that day".  You see, on the way to work the next morning, I saw blue ribbons everywhere. 

That's when I realized FB World could be my friend.  It's not about playing Farmville (which I must confess I don't even know what farmville is), posting information about a new cold sore or uploading a new picture of your lunch.  It's about bringing people and communities together in times of need.  I'm proud of my FB family.  Well until I see the next post about someone's gynecological examination and they will probably accompany the blurb with pictures.

1 comment:

Princess Kate said...

If you would like to help the Donaldson family, please go to Jack's carepage (http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/jackdonaldson/journal). He truly is a remarkable boy who in death has inspired me (and countless others I'm sure) to be a better mom, better wife, and better person. God bless the Donaldson family.