Whenever I bemoan the lack of time I have to do everything I want to do in a day, my husband helpfully reminds me how much time I ‘waste’ on Facebook and I wonder again if I should come off it, even if only temporarily?
Unlike many in my age group, I signed up to Facebook in those early days when, as a mature student, FB was adopted by university students en masse and the concept intrigued me. Gradually many of those young ‘friends’ have dropped off – as virtual friends at least – to be replaced by people I actually know and am friends with ‘in real life’.
I would agree that there are times when the site frustrates me – I don’t need a blow-by-blow account of your cat’s latest illness, or hourly updates on your husband’s recovery from an ingrowing toenail operation. However, with friends and family scattered across all corners of the world and spanning several generations, Facebook is a brilliant way to keep people in my life who would otherwise disappear off the radar, as well as sharing and receiving information at a local and international level. It provides a continuity and sense of community that might otherwise be missing in my life.
Where else could I:
- Support a campaign to stop Dubai (or Abu Dhabi?) opening a SeaWorld;
- Read Ricky Gervais’s pithy and poignant comments on animal cruelty;
- Follow the plight of Nepal as the international struggles to provide support;
- Share the adventures of my globe-trotting sister;
- Enjoy the incredible wit and humour behind some cartoons and jokes shared by friends;
- Connect with friends around the world who speak different languages and share items globally at the touch of a button?
Yes, there are days when I think I really shouldn’t spend so much time on FB and times when I vow to return to keeping a book of Crossword puzzles next to the kettle to entertain me in the couple of minutes whilst waiting for it to boil and not immediately reach for Facebook on my iPad. But, on balance, I think FB is more friend than foe and enriches rather than impoverishes my life and so, while ever that equilibrium is maintained Facebook has a place in my life. Hubby be darned!