I'm here to tell you my opinion of the Facebook phenomenon.
The games, quizzes, tests, and such are stupid. Yoville and Farm Town and FarmVille and Barn Buddy... these all bore me now, and I don't even know why I'm still playing. Actually, I'm not playing very often. I should delete them all, except for Mafia Wars: I’ve never played that one, but I joined up so my son could have me on his team… or something; so just for him, I’d keep that.
Anyhow, I recently had the opportunity to learn how useful Facebook can be in renewing or strengthening family ties: My sister's son, grandsons, and their families visited her, and we got together with them a couple of times that weekend.
Our real-life contacts with these folks have been few and far between... more so, as years go by. I barely knew my great-nephew's wife, Heather. We'd shared some Christmas dinners through the years, but that doesn't really acquaint you with someone.
However, since we've been Facebook friends, I feel as though I'm getting to know her. When I get together with my sister, who has no desire to have Internet service, I can usually tell her about some of her great-grandchildren's escapades, because I've read all about them on Facebook.
So when we saw them all a couple of weeks ago, there wasn't any awkward silence, no lulls in the conversation. It felt as though we'd seen one another only last week, or last month. And all this from a random sentence or two typed onto Facebook occasionally.
My daughter has connected me with some of her old school pals; I seem to have had a reputation among them for being a good cook. That's what they recall about me, anyway. I'm glad to know that's what they remember me for; without Facebook I would never have known it.
I've connected with people who were my co-workers five years ago, so I get to see what's going on in their lives.
I get glimpses into the activities of Cliff's brother's kids and their families, just little snippets here and there; but I know a lot more about them than I used to.
I enjoy becoming a fan of my favorite TV shows, because then I get notice when the new season starts, or when a new episode is coming on. Being a fan of Denny's Restaurant, I get 20% off coupons from time to time. Of course I realize that only pays the waitress's tip, but every little bit helps.
I am sorry that Facebook has taken a lot of people away from blogging, but obviously they're more comfortable with brief updates, rather than typing several paragraphs; it takes all kinds of people to make a world.
I know many of my Facebook friends in real life; some, I've attended church with in the past. Other friends I only know online, either from the old AOL chat room or from AOL Journals and Blogger. Honestly, I probably know some of the online friends better than I "know" many of my real-life ones.
They're coming up with a Facebook Lite that won't show all the games and quizzes and IQ tests; it'll only show the things people actually type in, in the course of their everyday lives. I think that may work better for some of us.
Yeah, I’ll keep my Facebook.