One July weekend, I got to talking with a friend about the benefits of Facebook. Most commonly I come across commentary on the value add of social media to a business. This ranges of course from the marketing/branding standpoint, to customer service and interaction with customers, etc. But what I was trying to convey to him were the personal benefits.
Instagram is what started the discussion (my friend travels a lot and I was trying to convince him for an Instagram account so I could travel vicariously through his photos), but transitioned into Facebook. I do love checking in to see beautiful travel photography on Instagram and quickly seeing what some friends are up to, however, that’s another topic. What I think is absolutely great about Facebook is the connectivity with friends and family scattered around the world.
I have a fairly large, extended family. Many members I had not met (or at least, remembered meeting) until an uncle’s wedding too many years ago. We had a great time there (as people at weddings are apt to do), and then connected on Facebook. I should note that Facebook was really just in the expanding stages then, anyone could join not just by university affiliation, but that had happened fairly recently.
Had there been no such social network during that time, it’s very likely we would not have remained in touch. Or at the very least, so connected. I’m able to see at a glance what their lives are up to, what their families are doing, and so when we are able to meet over the years, there isn’t any sort of “getting-to-know-you” period again. I have so very much enjoyed getting to know my extended family.
I also have friends who live in vastly different timezones, and I can stay in touch with their families, see their children grow or see the amazing trips that they take. The quick messages or small comments actually – in my humble opinion – do a lot to say “I’m thinking of you and enjoying seeing what you’re up to in life.”
I’ve even reconnected with old friends from an earlier life, pre-Facebook. And that has been wonderful too, to see what incredible people they’ve turned into. That initial friend request comes in and you might think “Hmmm, I wonder what this person has been up to.” And you may trade a couple of catch-up messages, look through some photo albums, and next thing you know, you’re carrying on long conversations and are actually friends once again.
I don’t know. This is just me. I, for one, am happy to have it and to be active with it. Some people are fairly active on it, which allows me to see what’s going on. Some friends I wouldn’t mind if they posted a little bit more. And then of course there are some who…let’s say overshare. But you’ll figure that out with usage, and figure out what works for you. Like with a lot of things in life, it is what you make of it.