Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Happy 10th Birthday Facebook

When something major happens on a global scale you more than likely remember where you were.  I've no idea where I was when Mark Zuckerberg launched Facebook. Do you?

The highlights for 2004 for us was the birth of our nephew in May and MissM in July.

Read any reports, and even Mark had no idea. He simply thought 'I was excited to help connect our school community, but one day someone needed to connect the whole world' 

This might sound really twee, but can you imagine life WITHOUT Facebook?

I can't.

It's my lifeline for so many reasons for each one of 'me' I am.

As a friend - keeps me connected to the people I see daily, to those I might never see again, to those I see once a year and to those I've never met and will never met, but we share a common interest and have found each other by being part of a group.

As a hobbyist - being part of an active online interest group is brilliant. No appointments to keep, pop in when you feel like it, participate when you choose. One group is very much 6 degrees of separation as everyone is invited in by a friend.

As an expat - the time zones get in the way of phone calls, and people move too often, you never know where they or you will end up next, or if a friend will move to where another is or has been and you want to keep the networks open and active.

As a mum - the soul searching comments, the words of support and guidance, the links to helpful websites.

The videos, photographs - WOW!

We all love to bag FB. We bemoan the constant changes when they aren't advertised, warranted or even requested.

We really get made when our privacy status' are changed without our knowledge, or rumors persist about photographs no longer being our property amongst other things. Cyber trolling is disturbing and sadly growing at a very fast pace and needs to be stopped; cyber bullying needs to be stamped out ASAP; pushing irrelevant advertising to the user is simply a waste of advertisers money and annoying to the user.

The filth and obnoxious comments made on some pages is mind blowing. People clearly feel very safe behind their computers throwing muck out into the universe. They don't know about Karma.

But we still use it. We dodge the ugly and celebrate the beauty of online communication.

For every one horrid comment, there are 20 lovely ones. That doesn't mean we live in a bubble with rose coloured glasses. If just means that as usual, good outweighs the bad.

FB told me that I joined in 2007 which makes sense as it's the same year we started our expat adventure.  Initially I was sceptical,  but soon realised how awesome this new free online service was at helping me stay in touch with friends in Sydney.

Sharing news in real time and commenting on same in real time was amazing, and tiring depending on which time zone people are in. Real Time Chats were all the rage and I was so grateful for fast typing.

G started to call Facebook Divorcebook.

FB allows us to be inclusive and share interests. If we are community minded, it allows us to up the ante on this and include as many people as we choose. We can learn from these groups and grown as individuals. How cool is that?

When we were in Yokohama, I started my first group - inviting friends living there to join the group and share restaurant experiences as a means of having a ready reference of where to go for a meal.

We then started a Summer Holiday Group - people were invited to share their Yokohama/Tokyo school holiday attractions, or give a yell out that 'On Monday we're going to Kidzania. Meet at Starbucks at 9am for a quick coffee before we catch the 9.27am train from Motomachi. Everyone welcome' and there'd be several families ready for a fun day out.

I'm super pleased to say both groups are still going strong as newbies arrive in town and are added to the Groups. I only removed myself a few months ago, despite being gone for over 2 years.

The one group I'm super proud of starting is a global book group, that is a closed group (the highest privacy offered) which has nearly 100 members, all within 6 degrees of separation from one another. We share books, authors; comment on what we liked or didn't, encourage new genre's and ensure Kindle and Amazon's business.

I'm also in a group for my primary school reunions, and high school reunions; two Ikebana groups which are so inspiring and creative; Special Needs Parents Association is close to my heart, as is Greenpeace Australia, The Australian Olympic Team and a few other pages. I click LIKE often, and every few months go back and delete some.

Regular updates from The Guardian, CNN, Christian Amanpour, The Australian and others keep me posted on current affairs and news, tho I have to say they ALL need to reconsider their reason for being on FB as some of the headlines and stories are really targeting the bottom of the food chain.

Some of my favourite bloggers have a FB presence and their real time updates are fun. These writers are friends I'll probably never meet, but we SHARE stuff which makes us buddies.

Friends sharing photographs, good news days and not-so-good-days, living vicariously thru friends who travel is both incredibly wonderful and jealousy inducing. Love a good recipe, or an e-card to make me laugh.

The 10 year video FB uploaded to each and everyone of us was so wonderful to watch and share (tho it's curious how they chose what to include). It been really terrific watching friends videos too - some very bittersweet memories.

it made me think that for all the bagging we give out to FB, it's pretty damn special and important to so many people.

FB does have a Dark Side. There's bullying and teasing, there's rude'n'crude comments and images one has to dodge, of the impersonal communication skills we are honing, of the loss of language as we speak in acronyms and icons; but that's not FB's fault, that's the society who choose misuse this pretty cool communication tool.

Here's to the next 10 years ......... by that time I'll be sitting on  rocking chair, goodness knows where, reminiscing with MissM about 'the good ol' days when that thing, remember, FB kept us connected with friends' and she'll smile and say yes mum but now we use ...................

With friendship

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