May 23, 2011

What FB Means To Me....

I hear so many people gripe about Face book.  I have seen a few articles about how bad Face book is for relationships. People are always saying "I don't care what you had for dinner".   While all that may be very true, let us not throw the baby out with the bath water.  Face book can only be as bad for relationships as the people in them are bad.  Get real!  Take some responsibility!  And I may not care what you had for dinner, but I may like to see it so that I can get an idea of what I will fix for dinner.  At any rate, I have the power to control what I see and don't see, and CERTAINLY what I do and don't do.  Come to that, it's much easier to drop a person out of your life on Face book than it is in real life.  No "Face book made me do it" excuses will work here. 
Face book makes it possible to us to keep up with family and friends who are far away.  We can see pictures of their lives now.  Grandchildren, vacations, whatever they put on there.

Keeping in touch with people you grew up with whom you may NEVER see again in this life.

Examples of this:

One Saturday in January, 2011, I had decided to clean out the furnace room in my basement.  I came across an entire basket of old 8 cassette tapes.  I had the computer on and was on Face book.  Several of my friends were also cleaning and putting up songs that inspired them to HIT IT, and I was actually enjoying myself as much as was possible.  In the basket, I find a cassette tape of a band made up of several guys from my hometown. 

Flashback:  The scene is a bar in Milan Missouri, the time is approximately 2 am.  I am standing, visiting with the band, waiting to get out.  The bar tenders are yelling "OK PEOPLE!!  YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO HOME, BUT YOU CAN'T STAY HERE!!" and trying to get everyone out of the building.  Parking lot was perfectly fine, as I remember, and there might be a crowd there till the sun came up, but out of the building NOW was the general sense.  Suddenly I feel something slipped into my purse, which was as big as my hair in those days, and I turn around to see one of the members of the band with a sheepish smile on his face.  "Check that out when you get to your car, before you leave", he grinned.  I said OK and hurried out to see what my surprise was.  My surprise was a cassette that this band had made.  I was touched and thrilled, and I put it on straight away and listened to it all the way home.

It was listened to a lot for many years, had wound up in this basket of cassettes and had been waiting right here since April of 2001.  I acquired this tape in, are you ready??????


 Now it is 24 years later.

The band member (name of this group was MEANSTREAK) had moved away years ago and I had never seen him again.  But guess who I had found and friended on Face book?

Now, normally, and by "normally" I am talking pre-Face book, this would have just been a nice little trip down memory lane.  That I would have shared with no one, probably, because the only people it would mean anything to were either dead or thousands of miles away.
I got right on his page, this old friend, and posted on his wall:
I'm cleaning out my furnace room in the basement and guess what I just found????????
(cautiously) What?
idk, but message me your address and I will send it to you!!  It's the one you gave me for free that night!!
Then followed a flurry of messages between us, with him providing his address, and saying how excited he would be for his son (his son, who I would have never even known existed without face book) to get to hear it, and how he had nothing left from those years, so naturally this meant a lot to him.  It still worked, too, so his son got to hear what his dad was up to all those years ago.  Totally worth it!

Still think it's a waste of time?

My father's family all hail from a small town in the very corner of Missouri named Southwest City.  It is right where OK, MO and AR all meet.  (Yes, they do.  Do not argue this point.  I can take you to the cornerstone, just look closely at the map).  It is about 40 minutes from Joplin and I have family and friends scattered throughout that area.  Both of my families cover most of this state. 

Last Sunday Joplin was hit with an EF4 tornado.  I got up from a nap ( A NAP!!!)  and the Weather Channel happened to be on as I walked into the living room, and under a banner that said BREAKING NEWS, they were reporting live from Joplin after a tornado.  The little weather channel guy was standing all by himself, sobbing and trying to keep his back to the camera. He couldn't speak.  The camera was trying to focus in on what he had just seen/heard that reduced him to helpless tears.  They seemed to be afraid there would be an explosion at St. John's Hospital (by far the most popular in Joplin, just sayin').  I was frozen in my living room trying to think what to do.  I grabbed my phone and immediately logged into Face book.

Without Face book, I would not have known, for days at least, whether my family and friends in that area were ok OR how bad the damage really was.  Without Face book, I would probably just have gotten into the car and headed down or sat, slowly losing my mind, by the phone, hoping that they had service in that area.  Or maybe I would have camped in front of the tv, trying to recognize faces.

Whatever you use it for, however much it gets on your nerves, as much as it can be abused, I have to come down on team Face book.  My world is better with it than without it.  A lot better.