I love Facebook, and not for the usual reasons.
I joined kicking and screaming about five years ago after my Australian friend Barbara convinced me it was a great way to stay in touch with friends around the world.
She was right, but I’ve found it’s also so much more.
“Between Twitter and Facebook and how close you can be with your fans and how close they can be to you these days is, I think, quite miraculous. It’s like getting a greeting card every single day.” Holland Roden, actress
Facebook was founded by Mark Zuckerberg in a Harvard dorm room in 2003 and has since changed the way we live our lives.
Is it misused? Of course. But the good it is doing can’t be minimized – it’s connecting the world, or at least the half a billion people worldwide who use it.
Facebook is an excellent example of the old saying: “you get out of it what you put into it.”
Here is what I don’t do on Facebook
- I don’t play games [with the exception of an occasional online Scrabble game with my friend Wanda].
- I don’t take surveys to find out what kind of flower, animal or moonbeam I am. Turns out many of these quizzes are actually data mining tools for advertisers. Ever notice the ads on the right of the page are for things you have searched for or were answers on these quizzes? We’re going to be seeing more of these games, so just be discerning.
- I don’t post much personal information.
- I don’t complain. In fact, I have unfriended many people who use Facebook that way. If you’re not contributing to the raising of the vibration of the planet, I don’t want to interact with you. This may sound harsh but we’re living in a time of great danger to our planet. In the words of Buckminster Fuller, “There are no passengers on Spaceship Earth.” Either contribute to solutions or step aside.
- I don’t stalk or bully people.
“I didn’t know what Facebook was, and now that I do know what it is, I have to say, it sounds like a huge waste of time. I would never say the people on it are losers, but that’s only because I’m polite. People say ‘But Betty, Facebook is a great way to connect with old friends.’ Well at my age, if I wanna connect with old friends, I need a Ouija Board. Needless to say, we didn’t have Facebook when I was growing up. We had a phonebook, but you wouldn’t waste an afternoon with it.” Betty White, 92-year old American actress and comedian
Here’s what I do on Facebook
- Post and share inspiring articles, photos and quotes. My favorite sites are Zig Ziglar and The Mind Unleashed. If I’m feeling a little down, taking a look at Facebook for the inspiration shared by my friends and my “liked” organizations is a great pick-me-up.
- Occasionally announce a class or event I’m hosting.
- Take a look at friends and family pages to see photos they’ve posted and get updates on their travels, etc.
- Get the important news that mainstream media won’t touch, particularly about health and the environment. Facebook is the only place to get the full story about GMOs, environmental pollution by big business, etc. Did you know that foods labeled “USDA Organic” are not actually organic?? I learned that from a very intelligent, well-researched article on Facebook. Of course, you have to be discerning and consider the source, because there are many false articles, too.
- Comment on issues I find important and of interest.
- Private message friends who’s emails I don’t have. Emails can change, but FB private messaging will likely always be there. I’ve found that many people spend more time on Facebook than checking e-mail, so private messaging may be a faster way to reach them.
Little known Facebook facts:
• Facebook encourages community and communication. Did you know that anything you post on Facebook only gets seen by about 16% of your friends or fans?
And the ones likely to see your posts are those who interact with you most often through likes, shares and comments. So, the more you comment on and share posts from a particular source, the more of them you’ll see.
“The thing that we are trying to do at Facebook, is just help people connect and communicate more efficiently.” Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook
• In 2011, Facebook was sited as a reason for a third of divorces, according to Divorce – Online, a British divorce firm. The most common reasons cited were inappropriate messages to members of the opposite sex, separated spouses posting nasty comments about each other, and Facebook friends reporting spouse’s behavior.
It once again comes down to the fact that we all need to take responsibility for our actions and be discerning.
• The general consensus by experts is that Facebook has facilitated political protests around the world, such as in Columbia and the Arab Spring: communication through social media is hard for oppressive regimes to control unless they shut the down the internet entirely.
“Facebook is bringing the world together… It has become an overarching common cultural experience for people worldwide, especially young people….It’s membership spans generations, geographies, languages and class. It changes how people communicate and interact, how marketers sell products, how governments reach out to citizens, even how companies operate. It is altering the character of political activism, and in some countries it is starting to affect the processes of democracy itself.” David Kirkpatrick in The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World
“Facebook was not originally created to be a company. It was built to accomplish a social mission – to make the world more open and connected.” Mark Zuckerberg
And isn’t that what we all want?
There is great good to be accomplished by open communication among the 99% of the world. Let’s all use social media for the good it can do.
Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman.” She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com