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The Sassy Sandpiper: Facing the Book

Wilson | Sassy Sandpiper | Columnist

By M.R. Wilson, TB Reporter

Thoughts on the inevitability and inescapability of Facebook.

The world changed in 2004 when Mark Zuckerberg and his homies launched Facebook.

Back then it was exclusive to the Harvard campus, but soon spread worldwide. By 2006, anyone at least 13 years of age with an e-mail address could create an account and join the Fabooverse, currently 1.71 billion users and counting.

I’ve had a love-hate relationship with Facebook ever since. I’ve created and deleted more Accounts or ”Profiles,” and joined, created and left more Groups than I care to admit.

My beloved, belated Lady Jane had an Account and Group, “If Greyhounds Ruled the World.”

Pages and Groups and Friends entice us to “Like” and “Join,” and perhaps create a few new Facebook entities of our own. Causes urge us to sign and share Petitions.

Sometimes it all gets “too noisy,” as a relative once bemoaned, what with Status Updates, Notifications, Private Messages, News Feeds, Chats, Friend Requests, and Comments. We’re invited not simply to “like” a post but to select from emoticons meaning we loved, laughed, wowed, cried or angered in response. We can read news snippets in the “Trending” column. Facebook “suggests” Friends, Groups, and Pages. It lets us know when Friends have birthdays and “invites” us to share Memories.

And that’s just the Intro to Facebook 101.

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I’ve wanted to quit and pull my Pages many a time. But I find that living Facebook-free may require a 12-Step Program.

Ironically, I enjoy teaching others how to use this social network, even while plotting to excuse myself from the whole shebang.

Firstly, the neophyte’s fears must be allayed. Some people genuinely believe Facebook is evil, leading to moral corruption, financial ruin, and physical decline. They worry about “security,” even as they are told of the availability of privacy protections, “blocking,” “who-can- see-my- stuff,” and so on, ad nauseum.

Naturally, Facebook doesn’t appeal to everyone, and it’s somehow admirable to have resisted its lure thus far, or to have disentangled from its net.

Still, I applaud the older folks who use Facebook, many at first to keep in touch with their kids and grandchildren. Next they might venture into Games, rediscovering old pals, finding new loves or rekindling old flames.

Learning new technology keeps the brain spry, and connection—even the virtual variety—is healthy.

My friend Annie was to visit for a Facebook tutorial. I sort of bullied her into it about a year ago, setting up her account and adding her first Friends. She politely and apologetically declined shortly thereafter.

No harm, no foul: The account could be resurrected whenever she was ready. Facebook saves all.

She was astonished. It is kind of creepy, sort of an undead something that can be called forth at will.

I was disappointed when Annie got sick and couldn’t make it. She is getting the hang of things on her own, however, which is really the best and often the most fun way of all to learn new tricks.

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The Sassy Sandpiper: Facing the Book
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The Sassy Sandpiper: Facing the Book
Thoughts on the inevitability and inescapability of Facebook.
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TB Reporter
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