A worldwide phenom that began on February 4th, 2004 is an ever-present part of so many lives, mine included. Created by Mark Zuckerberg, Dustin Moskovitz, Eduardo, Saverin, Andrew McCollum, Chris Hughes, who were buddies at Harvard, it has blossomed into a multi-billion dollar enterprise with users that number in the billions as well.
I was reluctant to get involved initially since I am an in-person social butterfly and erroneously believed that it was primarily for people who were socially isolated and found it easier to connect with others online. While I am certain there are those who fit that description many more use it to expand their social circles. Now I count myself as an active user throughout any given day.
According to Business News Daily, Facebook has a myriad of beneficial uses that include, reducing stress and inducing a natural high, seeing someone’s profile page has become a tool to determine job compatibility and predict success, as well as increasing self-esteem.
For some, Facebook falls into the category of ‘fast food communication,’ which can be minimally satisfying, but not emotionally sustaining or relationship enhancing. It is also a way of having multiple conversations simultaneously. You read something fascinating and have a desire to respond to it. Once you do so, you may continue your browsing until you receive a response and then circle back around to the original conversation.
Reasons I have become (as my son phrases it) a “Facebook addict”:
- Networking with people in my fields of endeavor
- Promoting the articles I write
- Connecting with kindred spirits who become family of choice
- Exercising freedom of speech to share ideas and philosophies
- Seeking and offering support in times of crisis or ill health
- Finding common ground
- Finding writing prompts
- Sharing political commentary
- Learning how others think and feel
- Watching videos
- Listening to music
- Discovering new ideas
- Expanding my horizons
By way of researching the uses and benefits of Facebook, I developed these questions to ask those who visit my page. I will include mine as well.
How about ‘unfriending’? (I have taken that step in the cases when people continue to pursue a trajectory that is spiraling downward.)Do you tend to ‘vaguebook’ or do you speak your mind when you want interaction? (I am straightforward with my requests for attention; which is the way I perceive ‘vaguebooking‘. )What do you think about using it as a way of getting the attention that may not be accessible in day to day life? (For some it may be one of the most effective ways to be noticed. Photos; selfies in particular. have become de rigueur.)
How about trolls who stir things up? Do you take the bait, or let it pass? (I sometimes respond and shut them down with a few well chosen articulate responses and sometimes let their responses roll off my shoulders. Ultimately, they disappear and move on to another person who is more likely to engage with them.)
Some of the responses from others include:
“My original use of Facebook was to keep up with distant family members and reconnect with old friends. Emails and phone numbers can change. When I was in Asia. It was a way to see what was happening with friends in America. Is also a nice way to share pictures…. With this election, I have felt I need to put opinions out there, but also to maintain a dialogue with people who think differently. Part of me wants to sell ideas, and Another Part Of Me likes to be a bridge builder. I think I’ve managed to calm the waters and maintain dialogues between friends with different views who post in response to my articles. Recently, I have spent way too much time on Facebook.”