The other day, one of my 800-and-counting friends on Facebook mailed me a package. I barely know him, never met him in person, yet I received a delicious chocolate torte. A real friend of mine could not believe that I gave a "stranger" my address. Sure, I'm going to give him my address. I had nothing to lose and only a chocolate torte and a few pounds to gain. It wasn't even my birthday. This was just a generous gift that came with a lovely note about how selfish he is because of how great it makes him feel to give. He sends these home-baked packages out a lot. I was so happy to be the recipient of this kind of selfishness.
Facebook is great!!!
On the very same day that my chocolate gift arrived, an unsolicited e-mail came in, containing a recipe for a great new pesto sauce. Granted these people know that I love food, because I blast my food blog all over Facebook after I post a new story I've written. Every couple of weeks, on those first few days, I get the thumbs-up likes which to me (and face it, to all of us on FB) is applause.
Facebook is so rewarding!!!
There are naysayers. Plenty who mock the amount of time all of us are online looking at Facebook. They make snide remarks about how many postings certain people log each day. But Facebook has given a life and meaning to many different kinds of people. Some, who rarely leave the house, now have quite the social life. Then there are the hookups. Suddenly, two people who barely knew each other in high school have found each other on Facebook and are getting married. And Facebook has endless reunion groups. People from grammar or high schools and colleges obsessed with getting together. Lots and lots of get-togethers.
Of course, there are also kooks. My guess would be that 25 percent of the ones who are always on have some type of personality disorder. And, sure, there is some shady stuff -- predators, both male and female, coming onto married people. (I say it's smart that my girlfriends banished their husbands from Facebook.) And people posing as something they aren't -- "CEO's" who are really homeless and using Starbucks as their office. Sometimes, too, there is a computer virus that sucks you in with a link that you click on. But mostly, it's information being shared, some frivolous, some useful, like the report about the town in Italy where it was learned that everyone lives longer because they stay social. That's us.
Facebook is fabulous!!
Some on Facebook are fighting a dread disease. They write about it in their status. Long, detailed accounts. Quickly, they are surrounded by love and support with a hundred or more uplifting comments. Sometimes they need funds and will post a site so that Facebook friends can donate. Yesterday, I stumbled on to a link on my homepage (I rarely venture past this page; if it's not there, I don't see it) that had information from Karen Black, the famous '70s actress, calling on people to help her with medical bills after a two-year battle with cancer. I saw that she had raised thousands of dollars from fans that are complete strangers. Let's face it, there's no better reality show on TV then the ongoing saga of your FB friends. And you are a co-star.
Facebook is brilliant!!!
On FB, the most rewarding day is your birthday. You may be the loneliest outcast or the most social creature -- or even delusional -- but on your birthday you are going to get the full celebrity treatment. Even if you were once severely unpopular, on this day every single year, you are the most popular person in your Facebook world.
A few days ago, a real life friend noticed a modest act of kindness from me on Facebook. Instead of clicking the like button, he picked up the phone to offer me an extra ticket to the Stones concert. It's called paying it forward -- and there's a lot of that, too, happening on FB. No, I didn't buy stock in Facebook, but I am taking stock of some of the meaningful relationships that I've formed.
Follow Fredrica Duke on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@freddeduke