If you don't use social media, you'll miss something

I hear from friends who are not on Facebook that they don’t have the time for it. They don’t see the purpose. They don’t want to be that connected. They don’t want everyone to see pictures of their kids.

They’re right. For them, Facebook isn’t the thing.

But Tuesday night, when I hadn’t had a chance to check Facebook much since the morning, I logged on.

One woman had linked to her most recent blog entry, about being on the way to meet her son, who was returning from another tour of duty in Iraq. Her writing often rises to eloquence, and this one certainly did. It was a joyous post – and a joy to observe so many of her friends sharing in her elation.

Almost the next Facebook entry was from a family friend, whose mother-in-law was severely injured in a fall and now lay in a hospital bed, surrounded by family who were there to say goodbye.

The woman and I are “friends” on Facebook but we do not know one another well. We have good friends in common, and when one in particular comes for a visit, we both are likely to be there. That’s sometimes how it works.

The family friend and I are closer, but we rarely get together. We catch up on Facebook, even though we both live in Champaign.

In both cases, I’d be the poorer if it weren’t for Facebook. I read two posts that were important, full of emotion and the sort of thing that might not be shared a couple years ago, because the capability wasn’t there.

You shouldn’t do Facebook, or Twitter, or any social media, unless you want to. It will be obvious to others that you’re not really that into it. Plus, Facebook has done a particularly bad job of just changing stuff, including privacy settings, that can expose more of your information than you care to divulge if you’re not vigilant. Twitter crashes much more often than it should, although it’s been well-behaved lately.

Still, if you don’t take part in social media, you will miss out on some things, including some you wouldn’t get any other way. Some of them are terribly sad, and some are transcendentally happy.

Like the later Facebook posts from the mom of the soldier. She posted pictures of, in order, the entrance to her son’s military base, the plane he was in shortly after it landed (“He’s in there,” she wrote, and that’s all we needed to know), and then, the two of them together.  She had nary a comment on the blog post, but dozens on the posts on Facebook.

You should’ve seen it.

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