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My First Six Months on Facebook

  • Feb 9, 2011
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It seemed inevitable that a person who had made more friends online than off over the past 20 years would find her way to Facebook, but the question is--what took her so damned long? Well, I had heard all the bad things about FB (the hacking, privacy invasion, etc.) and none of the good things. I'd been receiving those "Hey why don't you join Facebook?" emails for a year or two and kept ignoring them.

Finally, in July 2010, I drove back to Alexandria, Virginia, my old stomping grounds of almost 40 years before my retirement, to attend the retirement party of a former colleague. The room was PACKED with former colleagues--those still working at the same agency I retired from, those who had moved on to other jobs, those who, like me, had retired--and I kept hearing this one word all night: Facebook.

My interest piqued, I joined Facebook very late the next night, after returning to my retirement home in Delaware. Over a period of those first days, weeks and months, I discovered that I knew SCORES of people on Facebook. Online friends from 20 years ago and from other websites I still frequent today. Family members. High School friends and teachers. People I now work with in volunteering. Neighbors. And yes, countless work colleagues. Over 100 of these people are now my Facebook friends. What a rich and wonderful six months it has been!

If I could go back in time two years and send myself one of those "Hey, why don't you join Facebook?" emails, I would explain how powerful Facebook can be in renewing old friendships, enriching new friendships and getting to see a side of people you don't often get to see unless you are close friends and in constant contact. How, as silly as it seems, even the mundane details of peoples' lives can be joyous because they give you new insight into the person sharing them.

Seeing Isabel post that she spent Saturday morning at "The Weave" makes me smile, because I know how special that time with her friends at the Weaver Market is to her. Seeing my niece Amber posting silly notes to or about her boyfriend Matt fills me with wonder--because I still see her as this little wildchild of 4 years old. Seeing Janie posting about her sleep study helped me realize I have been procrastinating too long about having one of my own.

I notice that a lot of people don't post much. I think it is because many people are afraid they don't have anything substantial to say. Or they're afraid that posting mundane details of their lives would be boring. And sure, there's such a thing as TOO mundane or oversharing, I suppose, but I guess it's the amateur psychologist in me that finds what everyone says to be pretty interesting in SOME way. Revealing in SOME way a side of them I have never seen or even just helping me feel closer to someone who lives a hundred or several hundred miles away.

Two weeks ago, Janie, a former colleague of many years passed away suddenly. We hadn't been close friends at work before each of us retired. We were just people who worked together now and then and (I hope) respected one another. But in those first 6 months on Facebook, I got a chance to know her and communicated with her regularly online. She asked me one day "Why aren't we better friends?" and we joked about taking a road trip this spring.

I won't ever get to take that road trip with her now, but my sadness at her passing is lessened by the fact that I had an opportunity to get to know her better through Facebook. Given time, I think we could have become really good friends.

Sure, Facebook may have its evils; for me, so far, they have been far outweighed by the positives. I have closer relationships with a number of people because of it, and I hope that it has allowed the many former work colleagues who are my Facebook friends to see that who I was at work is not at all the whole of who I am. It's easy to forget that sometimes. :)

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December 16, 2011
Just read this review again. It's really heartfelt and meaningful. This review will make people think twice about not using Facebook. :) Great job, Sheri!
December 17, 2011
Thank you, Adrianna.
August 23, 2011
Great review.
August 23, 2011
Thanks, JS.
February 21, 2011
As a postscript to the above, I found my best friend from the 70s on FB this week. Throughout my life, I have had many great friends, but she was the only real "best girlfriend" I've ever had. She got married, we had a falling out, and hadn't spoke in 30 years until this week. Pretty cool.
February 11, 2011
Yeah, I'm one of those people who don't post that often on Facebook, and I got something out of your review :)
February 11, 2011
Thanks, Will! That is a great comment. :)
February 11, 2011
Great review of Facebook, Sheri! You explained it perfectly. It even allowed me to have a great back and forth with my favorite artist that probably never would have otherwise happened. I, too, find it fascinating what people will share online. It's nice to get all the good news in one place, it's also good to get the bad, so that you know how to react next time you talk to them and offer your help or condolences. Thanks for sharing your experience :)
February 11, 2011
I have had similar experiences on Facebook but also on Flickr and Twitter. On Twitter and FB, I got to communicate with authors of books I was reading at the time and tell them personally how much I loved their book--that was awesome! On Flickr, I communicate with a local celebrity--professional photographer whose work is published in our newspaper regularly and seen on a local TV station. I actually continue to interact with one author on FB who friended me after I posted a very positive review of her book.
February 11, 2011
Isn't that just the greatest? It's so nice when you're recognized for your reviews but, also it's a lot of fun chatting with people you'd never have the chance to- it just brings everyone a little closer.
February 10, 2011
Precisely the reasons why Facebook is a success for so many people. In any case, it is simply a tool and how one uses it or how a group of people uses it depends on that person & group of persons. For me though, I tend to keep in touch with many of the people I know. Perhaps one day I'll return to Facebook when I've more time to interact. For now though, it's truly great that you're finding good use of it!
February 10, 2011
Powerful review, Sheri. I'm really sorry that Janie passed away, but I am so happy you two connected on Facebook. That's wonderful. *hugs*
February 09, 2011
Thanks for your positive feedback, guys!
February 09, 2011
sweet write up, Sheri. I haven't joined Facebook yet up to this day. You make a great convincing article as to how the positives outweigh the negatives...we shall see. ;)
More Facebook reviews
review by . July 11, 2011
When sharing can get out of hands!
Is there anyone who is still not on Facebook by now? Yes! Many of my personal friends. Having said that, they are possibly the minority rather than the majority in the world now.      So, I'll keep this short and simple. My take on Facebook.   I had an account on it for many years but I hardly logged in. The main reason being I don't really know a great many who are on it and I was residing in China for the last 4 years, I was logged out of it. It's banned!   …
review by . November 07, 2010
When I first created my Facebook profile, I did so in order to communicate with a few people who I met on the old (and seemingly ancient) Yahoo 360 social network. I had become quite good virtual friends with them and didn't want to lose touch with them whenever 360 shut down.    I believed that those few select people (six friends total), would be my entire world on Facebook. Soon enough, however, I started getting friend requests from people I hadn't seen since high school …
review by . January 20, 2011
posted in Awesomeness
Global phenomenon? Yes. A scourge of every day life? Absolutely. Here's why you should follow my example and pull the plug on Zuckerberg's narcissistic ego-porn site.      So today I took the leap and unfriended myself from Facebook, which is ironic considering that I spend a major part of my time helping clients buy social media advertising - it's like being the drug dealer who won't touch the stuff. And it does strangely feel like I've disconnected …
review by . May 26, 2010
Social Networking has, for the most part, become a part of our everyday lives.  It's still in its infancy, though.  For most of us sites like Friendster and Myspace got us started in Social Networking, while other sites such as Amazon have adapted to becomeing more social networking like in a time that it's a big thing.  Yet when it comes to social networking no website stands out more than Facebook.  This is for several reasons.  Facebook has become a social networking …
review by . November 08, 2009
I realized very shortly after setting up my facebook account that I’d gotten myself into deep trouble. It was September, a little over a year ago. I found my thoughts racing, and usually heading straight back to my friend list. I obsessed over my profile even when I was doing other things; I remember going running by the lake and wondering almost the whole while which Elliott Smith quote defined me as a person. I learned to love chatting with three people at a time—when I’d see …
Quick Tip by . June 08, 2012
While this is convenient for finding and keeping in touch with old friends (or contacting people whom you don't have email addresses or phone numbers to contact with) or rapidly sending out survey questionairres for a college project, I hardly ever log on to Facebook due to the layout changes and clunky messaging system.    Also, I can't help but notice the unhealthy trend of people ONLY using Facebook to interact with others and the fact that so many are pouring in hours and …
Quick Tip by . June 01, 2012
Ouch!!! 40% LOSS for investors in its first 10 days of trading on the NASDAQ! More if you bought at the height of around $45 on its listing day!!!      I wrote a review of it (I know a bubble when I see one!) on the weekend after its listing looking for a price range of $25-28! It recorded a low of $26.83 yesterday (May 31) before a technical rebound at the close!       So, what's next?!        
Quick Tip by . May 21, 2012
It began trading on Nasdaq around $43 last friday. Today, in just a market day, over the weekend after Mark's wedding, it's trading at around $33!!! Lucky Mark who sold it at $38 with the help of Morgan Stanley! Not so lucky for the investors (retail or institutional) even if they are buying for the long term!!! They could have gotten it for $33 today or even less later!      PE of over 100?! Forget it!!! Are you sure you're that good a friend with Mark? ;-)   …
Quick Tip by . December 01, 2011
posted in Awesomeness
I'm on Facebook and I hate myself for it. The only reason I joined was because invitations from friends to events kept flying over my head, and when they asked where I was, they would always tell me it was on Facebook. Herein is the big problem I have with the site: People consider it all they need. Basic human decency and intimate, detailed conversation is being eschewed. But on the upside, I've made very useful connections with online friends and it allows me to keep up with the goings-on in Chicago, …
Quick Tip by . July 10, 2011
Too time consuming but there certainly are some slight perks to being on it! Well, some of my friends are and I like staying in touch with them, hehe...
About the reviewer
Sheri ()
Ranked #69
I have been a customer reviewer on Amazon.com for well over a decade and an Amazon Vine reviewer since the program began. I enjoy writing product reviews that will help customers make a buying decision. … more
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Facebook is a social networking website launched on February 4, 2004. The free-access website is privately owned and operated by Facebook, Inc. Users can join networks organized by city, workplace, school, and region to connect and interact with other people. People can also add friends and send them messages, and update their personal profile to notify friends about themselves. The website's name refers to the paper facebooks depicting members of a campus community that some US colleges and preparatory schools give to incoming students, faculty, and staff as a way to get to know other people on campus.
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