08/11/2014 10:50 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Facebook: Deeper Than You Think


Are Facebook postings superficial? There are big smiles amid balloons, vacation snapshots, or a dinner entrée of note. Some say it is a fake set up of life. Yet I believe Facebook sharing often reveals the individual nature of goodness and hope, the antidote to destruction or how close we come to it, according to the daily news.

Frankly, positivity is not a moneymaking headline unless it's a man on the moon, the end of war, or the fall of the Berlin Wall, and big-time good news feels that sporadic. More often the media bulk packages the suffering of strangers to maximize clicks and eyeballs on pages.

Alternatively on Facebook, individuals share what is pressing or important, and I love the momentary reveal into another's life. Talib reaches for his doctorate. Maggie posts a new trick by her dog. A family celebrates togetherness in Hawaii. Tracy is "this close" to having her kitchen renovated. Embraces declare couples still got it going on after all these years. Everywhere children are getting bigger.

It's the power of life. It moves forward in pieces easily missed.

Me? I post serendipity. For example, while cruising down the Seine in Paris, I sat next to a group of young Muslim girls and one asked me, "Are you American?"

Tentatively, I said, "Yep."

"We're from Kuwait and we love Americans! You saved our country!"

(Moi?) Both moved and amused, I replied, "Well, you are so welcome!"

Now who doesn't love an unexpected boost of appreciation?

Yet Facebook is never all hearts, flowers or selfies on the Seine. Just as often the real news is about loss of loved ones, or children who have cancer, the pain of illness, fear or uncertainty. In reply, there is often a deluge of encouragement, prayers, and many strangers will throw good energy into the wishing well. Those who can turn hardship into comic relief columns are the true standard bearers of hope, real life at its best.

Yes, there is enough drivel to choke a brontosaurus. Sadly, haters, naysayers and alarmists abound. After all, Facebook is tied to the unique personality of the owner so naturally, the terrain stretches just as far in other directions. Hooray that democracy rules! Little cesspool cliques are free to form, but I don't have to fall in.

This is what I find to be true. We are often advised to "be present," to "be here now," to savor moments that are small but oh-so-profound. Common belief holds that mindset to be rare. Yet Facebook's newsfeed will affirm that many more are in that club than one would imagine.

How would you characterize your typical post?

Email Suzette Standring: She is the Amazon best-selling author of The Art of Opinion Writing: Insider Secrets from Top Op-Ed Columnists and the award winning The Art of Column Writing. She teaches writing workshops nationally.