Enough Said

Enough Said
A sampling of my columns and why the hell is my picture SO big?

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Facebook, the great connector (original title)

Reunited after 40 years: Facebook, the great connector

Published 02/27/2014 12:00 AM
Updated 02/25/2014 01:05 PM

When my kids were in college they talked about a new social network called Facebook. They were enamored by it. To me it seemed kind of intrusive and a bit hedonistic. I thought Facebook would be a lot like an early marriage-infatuation, passion and maybe even a little obsession. And that eventually it would go the way of Myspace and recalling what's-his-name on the marriage license. But it didn't wither, it didn't die, it didn't dissolve into an online memory, it got bigger. It got so big, that the private little college system of communication expanded exponentially.

I don't think that in the beginning the kids ever thought that 10 years later they'd be Facebooking their parents and liking it. I certainly know my kids didn't think that.

My husband hates Facebook. Like other folks strapped to landlines and envelopes he thinks Facebook is like a 12-year-old jimmying the lock on his big sister's diary: What's in there is stupid, of no interest and who cares anyway? I have friends who think that going on Facebook is akin to listening at their kid's bedroom door for conversations about everything they are trying to hide from their parents.
"It's their world and I want no part of it," they say. I understand that because I used to think that way but not anymore.

A few years back, one daughter was mortified because I considered joining Facebook and the other daughter thought the whole idea was great, so I did what I had to do and signed up. I felt like a senior citizen sitting in the front row of a Pink concert. I was intimidated by the youthful process, didn't understand what was going on and felt totally out of place. I dropped out and went back to my homepage where I was comfortable looking up my daily horoscope. Fast-forward a couple of years, I got a new laptop, made the papers and gained enough courage and a little information and went back on Facebook, this time with the blessing of both my kids. Our Facebook worlds have mingled somewhat but I'm still so clueless that I'm very careful when making comments, liking and friending.

Early last year I did a search for a friend I knew 40 years ago. She was an amazing singer and I was a songwriter. We were sister-close and lost touch when I opened a small manufacturing company and she moved back to the Midwest. Her name is not unusual so searches prior to Facebook were fruitless. My friend is a few years older than me so I thought even though there's no way both of us would have the nerve to join a social network started by toddlers and run by teenagers, I'd give it a try. It took a year until I saw her name pop up in my Facebook inbox.

We messaged each other a few times but catching up became an on-the-fly sort of thing. So I called.
We talked as if there had been no 40 years between us. It was wonderful.

The Facebook connection taught me that even though we may travel different paths, the one we once shared is sustainable. Though my friend and I have lived very different lives we share a time when youth and all its promises of dreams fulfilled was real. She may never win a Grammy and I may never win a Pulitzer but years ago when we talked about such things nothing was beyond our grasp. Though now the probability wanes, the possibility does not. I found a long-ago friend. I never thought the possibility of that would happen and because of Facebook it did. Enough said.

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