I like Facebook. I do.
I've read articles, and I'm sure many others have as well, about how you're not talking to 'real' friends or you're not really connecting with people because you are chatting with them online or only reading status updates. I agree that there is nothing like sitting with a true friend and actually spending face to face time together, it's the best 'friend' time ever, but these times can be hard to come by for me.
Some of the most 'real' friends I've ever had in my life live far from me,and I find that Facebook is one of the best ways to connect with them. Yes, there are phone calls, Skype, email and the most exciting and delightful....actual MAIL! all of which I use (sparingly perhaps) but I find the social media of Facebook really easy. So many people that I know and like popping in here and there to share something special, funny, uplifting, thought provoking, sometimes sad, or even to have others share in their frustration once in a while.
Maybe I'm not 'true' friends with many. I can't hear the sound of your voice when I read your status update. I don't know all your mannerisms or picture those of you that are 'hand talkers' as you describe your day, what you saw or experienced. I don't always comment or 'like' what you say....but I do read it.
Perhaps I like Facebook so much because I've chosen to stay home with my children so it gives me a small but welcome dose of being 'around' other adults.
I connect with other homeschool families, geographically distant friends and family, and people that I have recently met and found common bonds with.
One very special instance for me was hearing from a cousin. I had not seen her since she was a baby and I was a little girl. I'm so glad she was able to find me on facebook and that we were able to connect. It's wonderful to know that you have family that you may never even remember meeting, but that they are a part of you and can be a part of your life. It adds a richness, and a blessing and it is a comfort to have a way to connect easily over distant miles.
I would absolutely agree that there is nothing as wonderful as having meaningful conversation spent with a friend. To sit and share a drink together. To laugh until tears are running down our cheeks, or to cry with the same result. To be able to share that embrace or a knowing look when you overhear your children's conversations from the next room.
It's wonderful to see the sparkle in someone's eye when they share special news with you...but it isn't always possible. I still want to hear the news, I still want to laugh at the antics of other people's children, or celebrate their special achievements or to share a message of comfort to someone who needs it.
Those moments of togetherness can sometimes be few and far between and don't EVER seem to last long enough! So, I will take those moments and cherish them, but I will also enjoy my friends from afar.
I believe it is important to continue to make new friends with those that ARE around us...but I may add them to my facebook friends too!
I choose to embrace my 'friends' as a blessing to my life and love those that rejoice with me and 'like' some of the things I share. I'm so thankful to be able to keep up with what is going on in the lives of so many. Kindred-spirits and acquaintances alike. I will strive to make new friends, especially those within arms reach and make an effort to have face to face experiences while still holding on to those who are distant. I hope you do too.