Monday, March 30, 2009

Why I Love Facebook

I first signed up for Facebook at the suggestion of my dear friend Karen Quinn. Until then I thought it was just for teenagers. But I listen to Karen’s advice. After all, Karen’s journey of reinvention has been hugely successful. The author of several books including The Ivy Chronicles, Wife in the Fast Lane and Holly Would Dream, Karen also once inhabited a windowed office in Corporate America. Facebook, she told me, would be a good platform to promote my blog and my writing.

But she hadn’t told me everything about it.

Like the fact that it can be a little addicting. That sometimes when I can’t get myself to write, I can manage to spend hours trolling for friends, past and present. That I know more of the goings on with my Big Fat extended Greek Family than I did when I didn’t have a profile up. That I might reconnect with people I had not heard from in decades.

No kidding. Decades.

The other day, I got an email from an old college friend who I had not seen since her wedding day! You know, one of those people who you spent years with living in each other’s back pocket until somehow life gets in the way and you lose touch. She found me on Facebook and signed up just so she could get in touch with me!

So, yes, Facebook can be a time grabber if you are not careful, but it is also a wonderful way to stay connected to friends all over the globe.

The thing I marvel about it most is the irony. I am of that age that remembers when there were only three major networks to watch on television. The rapid intrusion of technology has been something I have embraced yet questioned. One of the reasons for that is the concern I have had that it distances us from humans. That if we are not careful it can keep us isolated, more mesmerized with the computer screen than another warm body.

But Facebook is one of those technologies that connects on line and off line. It actually creates community instead of dividing it. Now that I work from home, when I need a fifteen minute break, instead of walking down the hall to chat with a coworker, I can sign on to Facebook and see who’s around.

I went on Facebook to market my brand and make new connections. I hadn’t counted on all the old friends and colleagues I would find. Karen hadn’t told me everything.

And my old college friend. We’re taking it offline and meeting for lunch in a few weeks. I’ll keep you posted.

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