Friday, October 23, 2009

This is a previously published column..

Changing Lanes:Facebook
It’s been my impression that I am keeping pace with computers and related technology. I love email, it made sense to me right from the start and it is a great way to communicate. I keep in touch with friends, family, and acquaintances in that manner. Half my communications with Emmy, several floors away in this old house, is via email.
I use the computer to schedule appointments, write, and I even dabble in the use of the much maligned ‘Excel’ program. That alone is like trying to learn French, but on a grid pattern. I will never master either one.
I was told I should have a blog, starting it up and adding to it is still a learning experience for me. Though I don’t make as many ‘posts’ as I am advised to, I manage to add to the blog every week.
Computer geeks keep coming up with new ideas and applications for the computer. I know they usually mean to streamline our lives but most of the new programs require what seems to be unending lessons to learn.
A new menace has arisen in my life. Facebook, appropriately named, is in my face everywhere I turn on the internet. My first contact with it came when I got an email from “The Facebook team”. They said my son Jon, wanted to invite me to be his friend, in order to do that I would have to join. If I became his friend, he would then send me photos of himself and his family via Facebook. It is unlike Jon and me to talk about it, but I’ve considered him a friend ever since he started doing wonderful things like moving out of the house and producing grandchildren. I didn’t think I needed a team from Facebook to make him my friend.
I wanted to know why it was important I join them. My suspicions harked back to my belief that any group who would have me as a member does not really meet my standards.
I became more curious than cautious; I took the bait and joined Facebook, though I had my doubts. I needed to examine it more closely before I rejected it completely.
Facebook looks like a desperate attempt to find friends, via the internet. What’s wrong with the old way- at the bar, drinks, becoming obnoxious, then morose, offending any new friend you have made, any old ones who are present, being escorted from the bar, ah the good old days..
I digress.
Facebook has multiple ways of communicating with others. You have to step carefully. You can write something on your own “wall” or another person’s wall. After offending a few people because I didn’t realize whose wall was whose and how many people could see it, I’ve stopped writing on anyone’s wall for a while.
There are games, clubs, and quizzes on Facebook. There are causes you can join. Some of them are serious, most are frivolous. You can become a fan of various things like ice-cold beer or campfires. I’m already a fan of those things and I don’t need Facebook to weigh in.
This all sounds as though I don’t like Facebook and I really didn’t until a short time ago. The other day my son and his family left for Disney World. I checked my Facebook page the same day they left. A photo of my 6-year-old granddaughter popped up. Her red curly locks tumbled around her face as she sat in the co-pilots seat of an airliner. They had boarded the plane for Disney a few minutes earlier and Jon had taken a picture of her seated there and posted it to Facebook with his fancy phone.
I knew they were in transit but in my old-fashioned mind, I had not expected to hear from them for at least a week, maybe two until they were back and settled at home again.
I kind of like Facebook.
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