I got to see friends and familiar faces at the wedding, and then again the next morning at a brunch that we put together for others who weren't able to make the wedding. It was pretty easy to organize the group because another friend and I just kept posting on Facebook asking who might be interested in getting together. Because of Facebook, most of the people at the brunch felt like they already knew my husband, which in turn, made him feel right at home among them.
I was also able to meet up with a friend who I went to high school with but didn't know during those days. Through Facebook, we've gotten to know each other pretty well over the past few years, so that when Eric and I actually met him, it felt like we were getting together with an old friend. He was tending bar that weekend, so we found ourselves in a tiny bar in Baltimore, and while he served us drinks, we visited with him, met new friends and enjoyed a neighborhood we would never have found ourselves in otherwise. (I also had to fend off one particularly pesky gay man who wanted nothing more than to sing "Picture" by Kid Rock with me as a karaoke duet, but that's a whole other entry entirely - yes, I sang it with him.) So even though Kirk and I were merely just students at the same high school twenty-some years ago, through Facebook we found that we really connected and shared a common sense of humor, and because of this, spending time with him was just as comfortable as if we were seeing someone we'd known forever.
Because of Facebook, while in Maryland, I also got to meet in person a friend I made online over ten years ago after I had a miscarriage and was trying to get pregnant again. The message board forum that originally brought us together eventually folded and we migrated to Facebook together. This woman and I chat on and off daily and have been doing so for years. We've shared intimate details of our lives due to our reasons for being on that forum to begin with, and Eric and I were lucky enough to get to have lunch with her and her husband. Again, no weirdness - we just felt like comfortable old friends.
Because of Facebook, my 94 year old Grandma can see recent pictures of five kids, her thirteen grandchildren, her countless great grandchildren, and her two great-great grandchildren. Because of Facebook I knew when my friend was in the hospital and I was able to take her magazines and some flowers to brighten her day. Because of Facebook my friends all know about my obsession with Josh Groban and were able to share in my excitement when I got to meet him this summer.
Facebook (and social media as a whole) has changed the world. I'm sure it's caused plenty of bad situations - I know affairs have resulted because of it, I know people have lost jobs over pictures posted, etc. I know that people have been tricked because of it (Catfish, anyone?). I know that I myself have even been a victim of the fake Facebook profile in a big way. But I think it's all in how you choose to use it. And for me, the positive far outweighs any negative aspects of it.
My friends and I were having a conversation at the wedding and one of them said, "Why didn't I like you in high school? Why didn't I know how cool you were?" I said, "Well I don't know. Probably because I moved away after seventh grade and didn't come back until junior year. By then most of the cliques had formed and it was hard for me to find my place." She went on, "But you never talked! You never said anything!" I said, "Well yes...I did talk. But I was probably quieter than I am now because I couldn't really figure out how to fit in." She added, "Well, I never shut up either, so you probably tried to talk, but couldn't get a word in edgewise." We laughed at that, and I continued. "You know, I struggled a lot in high school. When I moved back, I tried to reach out to several friends I had been close with back in seventh grade, but no one seemed too interested - they all had their own things going on. I tried very hard to reach out to one in particular, but she ignored me to the point of it being embarrassing. I even tried writing her a note and having someone hand it off to her in a class, but she never replied." I leaned forward and said to them, "You know what's sad? I used to tell my mom, 'If only I could get stuck in an elevator with some of these people for a few hours. Then they would know how cool I was. But they just won't give me the time of day to find out.'" My friend Tara listened and nodded and agreed with me at how sad that was, but then she said, "You know, I think that maybe we were given these trials and tribulations because these things make us who we are today. And look what a compassionate, caring, funny, strong person you are now." (Tara's so great.) And I do know that she's right. If I hadn't lived the exact life I lived, I might never have met Eric, and I wouldn't change that for the world.
I realize that social media is making the world a harder place for our kids, and that is a scary thought. Because when I was growing up, if I did something stupid, the only people who would know would be me and anyone else I told. Now someone can snap a picture on their phone, upload it to Instagram, and in seconds the entire school knows that Mickie was one of the first people in her small town in Maryland to discover self-tanner and came to school looking like an Oompa-Loompa, but tried to pull it off as if she'd been in the sun over the weekend (in the middle of January)! It's definitely an uncharted course that we as parents are going to have to learn how to help our children navigate.
I've been on Facebook now for about seven years and I've evolved in the way that I post things, just as Facebook itself has. I've learned that I mostly want to put the good things out there. Sure I might post or vent with some sort of frustration if something is really getting to me, but I see others who consistently post negativity and I don't want to be like that. Believe me, I've stopped myself from posting my frustrations many times. But just like anything in life, we see everything on Facebook. We see the person with the health issues who seems like they never feel well and always have some sort of malady. And while it's not always fun to see those posts, that is their reality. And it must suck for them. So I try to be supportive and say that I hope they're feeling better soon. There are those who love nothing more than to share their extreme political views. I can choose to comment, or I can choose to just ignore the post and wait for some other type of post to comment on. There are the people who seem to do nothing all day but post those funny e-cards. If I see one that I think is funny I might "like" it or comment on it. I guess what I'm saying is that each person has their own uses for Facebook, and who are we to say that any of them are wrong or annoying?
For me, personally, I love to laugh and to make people laugh. I seem to find myself in weird situations fairly regularly and I've found that people get a kick out of these stories. So while my posts are often lengthy because I'm telling about how I siphoned the foul smelling liquid soap out of the built in soap dispenser in my kitchen because I couldn't stand the smell of it every time someone in my house washed their hands, only to find out that the container unscrews beneath my sink and I could have just dumped it out, or, maybe I'm talking about how I laughed so hard that I peed in my brand new $200 boots and that I really should look into getting bladder surgery, or maybe I'm posting a photo of my husband using the loose brown pieces of yarn from the carpet as a fake moustache. Perhaps I'm sharing with everyone the frustrations of walking down the street in Annapolis while my tights slowly rolled down my legs - whatever I'm posting about, I can typically be counted on to (hopefully) make someone who might be having a bad day at least crack a smile, often at my expense. This is how I choose to use my Facebook account. And yes, I do post pictures of trips I've taken with my family, or fun outings we've gone on. Yes, I do pop over to Eric's wall occasionally to tell him that I miss him and I love him because he's out of town for the fifteenth night in a month.
The reason I'm posting this is because on Friday a friend of mine posted a link to this article. 7 Ways to Be Insufferable on Facebook
When she shared it, she also wrote this, "Hope some of my 'friends' that I've unsubscribed from due to the annoying posts about their perfect lives/spouses will take a hint."
I decided to take a look at the article. I was going to highlight some of the points for you, but actually I think I'd rather you just read the article. Basically the person who wrote this is saying that they don't want to hear peoples' good news, they don't want to hear their bad news, they don't want to see that the person is living a good life, but they don't want to see negative posts either. The friend who shared this link is someone I've known since I was twenty years old. We worked together at an electronics company - I worked in the travel department and she was an administrative assistant. We became pretty close and had a lot of fun together. When Eric and I first started dating, we spent a lot of time with her and her husband. Over the years, first we moved away, then they did, then we happened to be back in the same vicinity and we reconnected. Then they moved to Bakersfield and we haven't seen each other in several years. But we are in touch via Facebook. She doesn't post all that often, but if you go back through her posts, you'll see a comment or a "like" from me more often than you won't. While I do realize that my Facebook is my Facebook, like anything else in life, I try to reciprocate - if you are one of my 483 friends on Facebook, if you post something and I see it, I'm likely to acknowledge it. I try to be a good friend in that way as much as I can. Anyway, as I thought about it, I got the feeling that this message was aimed at me, at least in part. And that I was one of the "friends" that need to take a hint about their annoying posts about their perfect lives or spouses. I thought about how, despite the fact that I consistently comment on her posts, I don't ever see her comment on anything I post. Which is okay. I'm not posting to see how many comments I get. And I know some people prefer to just lurk. We all choose to use Facebook in our own way. But it just made me think that perhaps she was trying to send me a not-so-subtle message. So I commented. This is the conversation that followed....