Thankful for Facebook?? – Yep, Turns Out I Am – Thanksgiving Series – Post 4

I mentioned in an earlier post that I made a list of things I was thankful for. I know that sounds cheesy but I found it to be a helpful excercise. I started making sub-categories of things what I was thankful for and that included technology and eventually social-networking sites like Facebook. I thought about crossing that off. Reasons included that I’m in my 30’s and it felt a little silly. But then I started thinking about what the difference of not having Facebook would have made and I concluded that I really am grateful for it.

While there are a number of things that concern me about Facebook (privacy concerns, lurkers, numerous awkward experiences, the objectifying of people, the amount of time that can be wasted on the site), it has been among the best vehicles of connecting with people when you actually can’t be there physically. I compare the disadvantages to things like traffic and airline delays – they suck for sure – but they’re still worth it. While it also cannot substitute for a phone call, or receiving a hand-written note, it has its advantages such as:
It’s proven to make the difference between “never hearing from you/me again” to “staying in touch (at least somewhat)”
Like many, I too, have enjoyed rekindling old friendships.
It’s made my phone contact list lighter.
It’s proven to be a valuable tool in ministry. Writing on someone’s wall or sending a quick message saying “Hey…” has opened conversations that previously didn’t exist.
It’s helped me keep up with my family and friends, especially as they/we have begun our families.
Many more things to be sure – but my point for this post isn’t terribly profound. It’s simply to admit all this and maybe to get you to admit this too.

Now, I don’t want this post to simply be a homage to Mark Zuckerburg. I watched the Social Network, I still think it’s ironic that he (“allegedly”) stabbed his best friend in the back in the launching of this site.  But clearly, this has proven to be a game-changer.

But perhaps my favorite part of my Facebook experience has been the deepening of relationships. I have countless stories of messages sent, received, the timing of them and the care expressed inside them that leave me thinking this thing isn’t for kids, or just for fun, or for as the Social Network offered, for hooking up. It’s for a lot of things to be sure but there’s a lot of good here too and for that, I am grateful.

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