If anyone I know a bit from blogworld wants to be my facebook friend, This Link should lead to my public listing.
I was sitting around a table with a few other people – our dear Father G and a Catholic lady from St. Hubert’s and a couple of ladies from our church – and we were pinching perhogies. Perhogies is one way our church raises money to pay bills. It’s better than wannabe fashion shows and so forth. Anyway, one of the girls was talking about ways to keep in touch with people. “Are you on Facebook?” I asked. Immediate rapport ensued, as we discussed all the people we were enabled to stay current with through Facebook, and with whom we might otherwise lose touch.
Fr. G said he prefers to stay off Facebook because “you never know what is going to pop up.” OK, for a monastic that makes a lot of sense. (Fr. G is a heiromonk and celibate.) But Facebook does things that email can’t. First, it shares pictures at a more accessible level. Say your friend in another state just had a baby, or got married, and you couldn’t attend. Your friend doesn’t have to send an email with picture attachments. She can just upload the photos to her Facebook account and update her status to “happily hitched” or “new Mom!” All her friends, including you, can see and make comments. It’s a level of interaction that is, at the same time, easier and more dimmensional than email.
Facebook also has notes. You can post, much like a blog, your opinion about something or the story of your latest accident or embarrassing moment, and all your friends can see it if they wish, and again, comment. It encourages them to read your stuff because they don’t feel the need to write a long reply like they would with email. One or two sentences lets you know they care. Unlike a blog, however, Facebook notes can be limited to your friends only. Facebook is really a more closed universe than blogworld, and I find that comforting in many ways.
I also like the option of running status updates. By seeing everyone’s status in the morning I get a general sense for what’s going on in people’s lives. I can target my interaction to whomever is going through something important in their life, or to whom I haven’t talked in a while.
In short, I find Facebook useful. It allows me virtues of friendship which I would otherwise struggle very hard to attain. It’s better for my friends that way; I’ve always been very bad at keeping up with old friends and even family.
Of course, there’s the silly stuff, too, like quizzes and all the ridiculous invites. I have a policy: I respond only to friend invites. None other need apply. In fact I limit my ‘applications’ very strictly. All in all, however, I’d say that the essential Facebook is just what it advertises itself to be: a social utility. WIth my family and most of my friends in another state, it has become nearly indispensable.