My Love Affair with Facebook
I just celebrated my 70th birthday. After teaching thirty-six years and writing five books, I’m pretty comfortable with my life now. I usually wake up at dawn, sometimes drifting back to sleep, but more often than not, I lie there another thirty minutes or more thinking about what I’m going to do with my day, or continuing a dream in my head. To combat my arthritis and weight, I do a series of leg and ab exercises before I get up, then the usual routine of making myself ready for the world. I put on a cup of green tea before raising my shades and checking the weather. After adding lemon and honey to my tea, I either head to my computer or outside with my cell phone. I'm ready for my new best friend, Facebook.
Yes. You read that right. Facebook. It’s my connection to the world--- friends, family, former students, colleagues and classmates. Facebook is the best thing since white bread, as they say. It allows me to keep in touch with over sixty high school classmates I reunited with three years ago when I attended my fifty-year class reunion. Claudette, the organizer, shares a morning blessing that I, in turn, pass on to my friends and family. I start my day with a Bitmoji, a social media app that allows me to send out any message with a cartoon version of me. I designed her, of course, and I change her hair to match my latest style and I change her clothes each season. Facebook also has its own avatar, and she saves me hours of typing out “Hello,” “Happy birthday,” “Congratulations,” and “I love you.” They are done with a cute cartoon and a smile. Later on, I can see who responds with a comment.
I scroll through the latest posts and newsworthy items, sometimes stopping to read an article or two. I share “Friendversaries” and birthday wishes that Facebook conveniently reminds me of, so I can impress people with my memory and thoughtfulness. There is a daily reminder of my old posts that randomly comes up on the date I first posted them. So I can see what I was thinking about a year, two, or up to eight years ago, when I first joined Facebook. I love these memory posts because they remind me of special occasions and people I have missed. Sometimes, I’ve been looking for an old post or picture and it pops up on a memory day. At my age, I just love going down Memory Lane.
I have found family members that I never knew on Facebook. You can go on anyone’s page and see the friends you have in common, so you can easily identify how you know someone in case you don’t remember. I have found and friended both high school and college classmates, elated that I could renew these friendships. We were often in tears when we first spoke on the phone or met up in person.That’s how I found out about my reunion. That’s also how I find out who has passed away. I was able to reunite with my brother whom I had not seen in over thirty years. No one in the family knew where he was, but I spotted a "Merry Christmas" wish on Messenger. I currently have over 2500 friends on Facebook. If anybody is on Facebook, I can find them.
But still, a lot of my friends refuse to do Facebook. They either think it means everyone will know their business, or that the process itself is addictive. But here's the thing. If you open an account, you determine what you put out there. You don’t publicly post your address or phone number. You don’t have to reveal your marital status or if your husband is cheating on you. You don’t post anything about your finances or bills. You post what you want to share with the world. And I love sharing my thoughts, especially when I can't see people in person.
I post a “good morning” to all my contacts in the form of a cartoon. I share spiritual memes that offer blessings and self-confidence. I share beautiful scenes in nature as a testament to an awesome God. I share photos of family gatherings and pictures of my beautiful grandchildren. I share my love of books and authors with links to my blogs from my websites. I actually have three Facebook pages: my personal one, my book page, Rose Freelance, and Seasoned You, my page for women over fifty. I have coordinating websites for each of these. On Rose Freelance, I share book suggestions, notes for authors, and links to articles and webinars that relate to writing. On Seasoned You, I share inspirational advice and articles related to health and aging. Do I spend more time on Facebook than I should? Probably. But I’m connecting to the outside world, reuniting with friends and family, and getting feedback on my thoughts and writing. During a year of quarantine and limited access to the outside world, Facebook was a welcome and safe outlet. I can’t imagine what 2020 would have been like without it.
I am encouraged by the feedback from friends who respond to my posts with a comment or even a symbol of love or agreement. I love the fact that you can go to your comment list and see how people respond to your posts. There are also private messages that you can use to communicate things you don’t want to go public such as party invitations or phone numbers. You can use this as well to promote your business with advertising and links to your website. I rely on Facebook to promote my five books and numerous blogs. I feature a different book every weekend and promote special offers. On weekends, I also send my book posts to Facebook groups, capable of reaching over 100,000 members. And yes, I’ve been in Facebook jail for that many times (when they don’t let you share) for posting to groups too often. How else would I get readers to my website? And it’s all free!
I hear that Facebook is for old people. The younger generations prefer Instagram. I know they’re owned by the same company, but I’m not as savvy with Instagram. You can share an Instagram post to Facebook, but not the other way around. I can reshare a Facebook post, but not Instagram. And videos? You need a totally different app. So Facebook is alright with me. I’m old and so are most of my friends. I don’t care that it’s not the latest thing. So though Facebook was founded in 2004 as a social network for Harvard students by Mark Zuckerberg and his roomates, it has become a phenomenon that is available to anybody with an email. Facebook boasted nearly 3 billion users in 2021. I love Facebook, and from the looks of my comments, "it" loves me back. 'Want to join me? Send me a "friend request".