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Facebook for Boomers
Are you on Facebook yet?
Social Networking has changed how we communicate!
I have only been on Facebook for about 2 years. Of course Facebook is only four years old so maybe that’s actually a long time in the virtual social networking world.
For those of us who grew up typing on a typewriter, computers were something we learned for business reasons or for research reasons. We didn’t have the inborn DNA that the millennial generation has today. So when MySpace appeared, I really paid no attention to it. After all it was for wannabe bands and teenage fans, right? So two summer’s ago when my daughter wanted me to get on Facebook to play Pet Society with her, I thought – whatever. She helped me set up my page, basically filling out an online form needing an email address…. No harder than online banking. I uploaded a picture. Ok still not too tough. And voila! I was on and talking to my two “friends” who were my two daughters. For about two weeks I occasionally looked at the page or played Yoville with the kids when suddenly, someone I had done business with a couple of years before, found me and asked me to be their friend. Hmm.. I thought - that’s odd. I didn’t imagine that there were adults really hanging out on Facebook. But that one friend suddenly turned into 20 friends, then 60 and now 400 friends later, I am convinced that Facebook is something that everyone needs to be on.
I quickly discovered that many of my clients and former co-workers had pages. Friends (real ones) that I hadn’t seen in decades suddenly emerged. I have now reconnected with classmates from high school, college, people I worked with 30 years ago! Facebook currently has several hundred million users. That’s a lot of people. Suddenly I don’t need my email anymore. I just contact people on Facebook. I can send them a message or leave a post on their page. But better than that, I can catch up nearly instantly with everyone WITHOUT having to contact them by email or mail. Or worse talking to them. It’s not that I don’t want to talk to family and friends but I am busy and would rather leave an encouraging word or two, when I hear about a new baby or an engagement, as opposed to having a lengthy conversation when I don’t have the time.
Of course as a teacher, I can connect with my students and see what they are up to! When one of my student’s fiancé was tragically killed in a hiking accident a month ago, the news spread within hours. The community of friends poured out their sympathy and prayers for her and the family. Facebook has created true social networks that don’t only work for business or fun, Facebook has become the “small town” of this century. Its become a place where we know our neighbors and we can celebrate or mourn with them. Only on Facebook, our neighbors can live anywhere on the globe.
I have read criticisms of Facebook that say it causes us to become more isolated and our friendships more shallow. I disagree. Now, through technology I am more connected than ever to people that I absolutely adore. I can have nightly conversations with dozens of friends, quickly and easily. I still see people face to face. But now we laugh about Farmville or the latest YouTube video. And our conversation can continue even when we aren’t in each other’s presence.
I still have friends that are leary of technology. They are afraid of losing their privacy, or that it will take up too much time. On the contrary, Facebook saves me time. I know what people are doing, what my clients are talking about, what is important to my students, what movies are worth seeing and what books are worth reading. I can play a game with a friend in Australia, share my granddaughter’s pictures with my mom in Arizona and talk politics with my brother in Washington. All at the same time! All with a click.
Social networking has changed how the world communicates. Its power and influence is growing exponentially. To not be involved in a social network, is to be literally left in the dust of history.
This past Christmas I got my 83 year old mother set up on her Facebook page. I live far away from her in a different state. But nightly we can share pictures, and talk, and play a game together. Pretty cool stuff. If you aren’t on Facebook yet, why not? The world is literally at your fingertips!