In Defense of Facebook

This year’s been tough. It’s been hard on a lot of us. But it’s also given me a chance to acknowledge and treasure a silver lining in this darkening cloudy sky.

Every morning I wake up and spend a few moments reflecting on the wonderful gifts I owe my gratitude. I’m so thankful for my husband, my home, my dog curled up next to me, nearby Central Park…and Facebook.

I’ve learned so much from smart people on Facebook. I’ve found so many great articles and stories. I stay connected to people I’ve known, sometimes lost, people I’ve loved and cared about. Best of all, through Facebook I’ve become acquainted with so many wonderful souls who inspire me, enlighten me, give me solace, good laughs, comfort, confidence, good advice and a good ass-kicking when I need one. I’ve never met many of them in the flesh, but I couldn’t know or love them better if I had.

There’s lots of discussion, and evidence, about how living so much of our lives online harms us. We’re too detached from reality, from engaging with the real world and connecting with real people. We’ve become isolated on our own little planets, staring at our screens and living in our own solipsistic worlds filled with selfies and selfishness. Our devices become our ever-present intermediaries that we’ve used to replace companions and community.

I call bullshit.  

It’s true we sometimes spend too much time obsessing on me and media.  But community and company can take many forms and in the last decade a new kind of klatch has evolved to help fill our fundamental human need for connection, clique and kin. Old and young, rich and poor, shy and not-so-shy can all participate, share, hear and be heard.

Facebook allows all kinds of people from all walks of life to find like-minded souls to help enrich and enlarge their private universes.  Rather than exacerbating our lonely isolation, social media connections can provide genuine comfort and solace, guidance and validation.  It also gives everyone a place and a platform to express their life’s narrative, share their voice. If we are all these little mortal asteroids sailing through a massive galaxy, Facebook gives us each the ability to let these little lights of ours shine.

We are all already stars. Facebook lets us make our own constellations.  Together we shine, we twinkle, flare, sometimes we explode. We know the universe can be dark, overwhelming and scary. Facebook helps me see glimmers of light out there in the vast black. I see, I listen, often I feel. And if you can’t find me, just follow my voice.  Follow my voice, and we’ll get to shore together.