Friday, April 13, 2018

I Don't Want to Quit Facebook

One Sunday a month I get together with a group of friends, some of whom I've known since Kindergarten, to have breakfast.  When we graduated from High School in the early 1980s Facebook did not exist.  We all went off to college, or joined the military or went to work and we lost track of one another.  I coached soccer locally in Columbia for several years and ran in to one or two of them on the soccer pitch as they watched their kids play, but mostly I didn't know what any of them were up to.

I have cousins who are more than ten years older and more than then years younger than I am.  We all grew up in different states and we just don't see each other all that much unless there's a funeral or a wedding.  Growing up we saw a lot more of one another as we traveled to visit grandparents and great aunts and uncles.  Once that older generation moved on though, the visits were less and less as we all had very busy lives at home with siblings getting married and children arriving.   We prioritized immediate family over cousins.

Then one day we all found each other on Facebook.  Joining Facebook was one reconnection after another - friends and family we'd lost touch with were all there.  We were posting pictures of our kids, our vacations, and our family celebration.  We found out some of us lived pretty close to one another having moved out of state and we reconnected.  You're going to be in California?  Let me know when and we'll get together for dinner.  You're coming back East?  Let us know and we'll have a mini reunion.  

All of this reconnection was brought to us by Facebook.  That monthly breakfast would never have happened if not for Facebook.  I stay connected with new friends via Facebook.  The dog rescue I volunteer with uses Facebook to broadcast adoption events and fundraisers.  I personally manage a Facebook page that is community oriented and connects people via their pets.  I belong to local political clubs that communicate events and other activities via Facebook.

I'm also one of those people who likes to share and discuss politics with some of my friends via Facebook.  I've joined some Facebook groups that are a walk down memory lane, creating even more connections sometimes with people who grew up near me but I never knew until Facebook.

A while back I wrote a post about privacy and the information we unwittingly share when we're online.  I'm not here to defend Facebook for its transgressions.  They're not the only ones using us to make a buck though.  I feel like the horse is already out of the barn on this one, my data is out there and there's not a lot I can do about that.  I do think Congress and State legislatures though can pass some laws regulating transparency so that you know exactly what you're giving up when you use Facebook. 

I am also willing to pay for Facebook.  At this point there are so many users that if we each paid $1 a month Facebook could rake in $2.13 billion for that month.  I feel like they could sustain their business on that, and then some.  Maybe they could start a scholarship fund with the excess and send kids to college.  Just a suggestion.

I'm not going to quit Facebook.  I like being connected with all these folks and I don't want to lose that and I don't see a viable alternative.   

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