Guest Post: My Facebook Journey
On January 12, 2009, I was introduced to social media by being invited to join Facebook. Immediately I became friends with quite a few people. In no time I had more than 50 friends and the goal was to have as many friends as possible. In the following days I was pleasantly surprised to see requests from old school friends that I hadn’t seen in more than 30 years. For me, Facebook has continued to be a means of reconnecting with friends.
Not only have I reconnected with old friends, I have made new ones. This has happened when discussing issues on a mutual friend’s page, we realize that we have things in common and we become friends. I have been able to meet quite a few family members through Facebook and have also become a member of different family groups. Birthdays for most of us are those special once a year events and it is always nice to see a whole lot of birthday greetings on my wall when that special day arrives.
Death is inevitable. As a result I have lost 3 friends all of whom would were relatively young, all under 50 years old. When my friends lose a loved one I always leave condolences out of courtesy but not really thinking it made a difference. However when I lost my father, I realize that it does give you that much comfort when people take the time out to express their condolences. Facebook has proved a wonderful source of information especially when dealing with day to day challenges. For example, when Hurricane Matthew was bearing down, a cousin on his page inquired where could he get duct tape. Having gotten some earlier, I was able to tell him where and he was able to purchase a roll.
I enjoy Facebook for providing a medium for having thought provoking, stimulating conversations about the issues of the day. I have always found Facebook to be the place where major news stories are seen even before it appears on other media. The world has become a lot smaller because of Facebook because you can correspond with anybody anywhere in the world at an instant so it is a wonderful tool of keeping in touch with friends and family. Being a music lover, I am very appreciative when my friends post You tube videos of music that I love. I also post You Tube videos for the enjoyment of my friends.
Those with businesses have a very good medium for promotion. I have shared a friend’s business page and other friends having seen it have gone to that business place and bought items. Recently, some cousins were visiting the country, I was looking for a restaurant serving Jamaican food. I was able to find the restaurant’s business page and find out the address, foods served, opening hours etc. I have found Facebook very useful in promoting my blog. It really is an effective way of attracting traffic to blogs and websites. I have estimated that my blog gets 67% of its traffic from Facebook. In addition Facebook has enabled me to join blogger groups which have been very useful to me.
I have always marveled when people will tell you that they have no intentions of coming onto Facebook but then months down the road you find a friend request coming from them. Like many others, I get friend requests from people who I don’t know in any shape or form and always wonder why do people want to be friends with somebody they don’t know. Even with all its upsides, everything has its downsides which in my opinion, Facebook has very few. Others might disagree. One of the main ones I found very early is that it is very addictive. One can easily find oneself locked in some hot topic being discussed when there are personal matters to be dealt with.
TMI (Too much information). Some people will post almost everything about their personal lives – what time they are going to bed, whether they are having a shower, etc. And therefore Facebook can sometimes be used as a tool for narcissism.
I noticed fairly early how addictive Facebook can be. One can get easily distracted from other more important matters when discussing the hot topics of the day with friends on Facebook. Most Facebook discussions are civil but now and again, they can descend into nasty personal attacks, because there are some people who just don’t respect different opinions and take criticism personally. I unfriended somebody on my page because after repeated calls to him to desist from disrespectful behaviour, he would not stop.
Hats off to Mark Zuckerberg and company for creating a platform that I have thoroughly enjoyed using. I aim to continue using this social medium as long as possible.
(c) A. Pierre Sobers