I’ve been writing a lot about how Facebook can negatively affect my life. Giving something up, it’s easy to notice the negative effects that dissipate. This week, I’ve been thinking about the good things that Facebook brings to my life.
One format that has been going viral on Facebook is lists. There’s a list for everything: “10 Rules for a Great Marriage,” “7 Things We Won’t Miss from 2013,” “32 Reasons My Child is Crying Right Now.” Buzzfeeds are aplenty (“44 Facts About U.S Presidents That Will Blow Your Mind”). We like lists. I like lists.
Because I like lists, I decided to write a short list of the good things Facebook has brought to my life that I’m more aware of, now that I’ve given up Facebook for Lent:
- Staying in touch with people I never see. Some people might not value this, but I always have. In my parents’ generation, everyone gathered in the old high school gym with streamers and balloons and fruit punch and caught up on the last 10 years at a reunion. My high school still has reunions, but when I saw people at my last reunion, I actually felt like I sort of knew what was going on in their lives. I knew they had kids. I knew how cute their kids were. I knew they had traveled. I knew they graduated from medical school. We didn’t simply catch up. I asked them deeper questions about various life experiences they’ve had of late.
- Reading more than I might ever have before. I’ll admit: I don’t subscribe to news websites or apps. Most of the news I read comes from articles that friends put on Facebook. This can be a good thing or a bad thing, but for me, it’s largely been a good thing. Many of my friends share really thought-provoking articles that I might not have ever found. What’s more, I can talk to that friend, virtually, about my thoughts on the article, and we can share our opinions.
- Sharing the things I love. I’m a doula and on my way to becoming a childbirth educator. Based on everything I post and share, Facebook advertisements seem to think I’m pregnant. That aside, I love sharing openly and enthusiastically about what I love. This has led to a number of friends reaching out to me and affirming my life choices and also asking me questions about their pregnancy and labor and delivery. I love to talk about things I’m passionate about. Facebook has been great for that.
So, there you have it: at least three things I really love and miss about being on Facebook. What’s your list?