It’s quite popular these days to talk about how much you hate Facebook. “I should really delete my account,” a friend sighs, “but I just can’t do it.” Another friend is convinced that Facebook is the root of all communication problems — “Every time I post something, someone gets mad at me.” And another friend keeps disappearing and reappearing every few weeks — I go to tag him in a photo, and oops, looks like he’s gone again.
I would argue, however, that hating Facebook is like hating a hammer just because you happened to smash your thumb with it. If you’re not using it properly, then it’s quite likely that you WILL smash your thumb. If you use Facebook to stalk that ex-boyfriend or to play Candy Crush or whatever, then yes, it’s probably a complete waste of time.
Facebook is about connecting with people. That’s the point. If you’re having trouble managing your social media, here’s a reminder of what you should be using it for:
Keeping Up with Old Friends
Facebook is a good way to send a quick message to a friend you haven’t seen in a while — you don’t have to keep up with his/her latest email address. It’s a good way, for instance, to keep up with people from church back home — next time you visit, you have something to talk about instead of just standing around in an awkward fashion.
Of course, just as in real life, you can also have relational disasters that are facilitated through Facebook — like that one time I thought it would be brilliant to organize a get-together with three friends from elementary school and it was an epic failure. This, however, was a people problem rather than a Facebook problem.
Meeting New Friends
Facebook can be a great way to meet people — I’m in several Facebook groups on vintage fashion, and they’ve got all the same people in them. We’re all somewhat “acquainted” with each other. I’m friends with one or two of them — and it’s great moral support to realize that others have the same struggles as you (you know, like spending hours sewing a vintage blouse and then having a freak-out episode because you finally finish it and decide it looks like a clown outfit — this actually did happen both to me and to a Facebook friend within two weeks of each other — hers was actually adorable, and mine needed to have a neckline bow de-interfaced, but that’s another story).
You can also become better friends with acquaintances — I have one friend on Facebook whom I had met exactly one time during high school. What do you know, but we ended up swapping recipes and having a mutually beneficial Facebook relationship.
Keeping Up with the News
I use Facebook to keep up with the news. If it’s important, then it will appear instantly on Facebook (I discovered that they’d killed Bin Laden about fifteen minutes after it hit the news websites — just because everyone was talking about it in my newsfeed).
Learning New Information
Facebook can be a fantastic resource for learning new things. As I previously mentioned, I’m in several Facebook groups — the most helpful is one that’s oriented around dating vintage clothing. Not only do I have a whole group of very knowledgeable people available when I can’t identify something, but I get to see everything that they post, too — and it’s a valuable learning experience that’s highly applicable to what I’m studying.
Then there are the Facebook pages. Two in particular are my favorites — Mid Century Fashion and Living-Fifties-Fashion. These two wonderful ladies post pictures every day — fashion photographs and vintage advertisements. I even have one of them to thank for my current research topic — I was scrolling through my newsfeed one day, and I came across a vintage maternity sewing pattern that one of them had posted. “Huh,” I thought, “I didn’t know that those existed!” And that was the beginning of my thesis topic.
So, if you’re having trouble with Facebook, don’t just up and delete it. Maybe delete some people — or just hide them from your newsfeed, which is the more polite thing to do — and block some games, and join some different groups and pages that will help you grow as a person instead of wasting your time (if you don’t have any ideas, then this page and this page might be fun places to start — not that I’m biased or anything). Remember — Facebook is just a tool that you can use in any way you would like to.
Thank you for joining me for my soapbox rant today.