Hello.  My name is Emily and I like Facebook.

Altogether now:  Hi Emily!!!!!!!

You will join in this chorus of support, right?  Because many of you are suffering from a similar affliction?  Let me describe the symptoms.  You are suffering from any or all of the following:

√        You find yourself checking your Facebook page a few times each day but are somewhat ashamed to admit it. 

√        You complain about the GI-HUGIC time suck it has become, yet it’s still more interesting that 90 percent of anything else you might be doing.

√        You find yourself referencing Facebook in everyday conversation….everyday. (Ex:  “Did you see Susie’s status update?  Wasn’t that hysterical/ weird/ out of line?”)

Yup.  We are talking about you.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of, but yet we still are reticent to admit how much we enjoy the site.   Facebook has been demagogued.  People who aren’t using it do not trust it; those that do are hesitant to admit the pleasure they derive from it.  While it’s not as taboo as saying “I like porn,” it has definitely been classified as a vice.  Probably somewhere in between alcohol and Hagaan Das.    I know this to be true because people have made New Year’s Resolutions to cut down or stop Facebook altogether.  I know someone who gave it up for Lent.  How do I know this?  Because they announced it on….. uh, Facebook.

I’m here to say it is okay to like Facebook.  In fact, there is a study that says that people who use social media are not creepy (I paraphrased) and in fact are probably more connected and involved in the real world. 

Personally, social media and specifically Facebook has made my life fuller and richer in countless ways – -and taken away very little.  A colleague described Facebook as “a new Broadway play each day starring all of your friends”.  Brilliant.  That is exactly what it is.

In many ways, Facebook is no different than face to face friendships in the sense that:

You choose your friends.  No one is forcing you.

You interact as much or as little as you like.

You find some people interesting, cool or engaging and other people boring, weird, or pretentious.

Sound familiar?  That’s because it is.   

I have 318 “friends” on Facebook of which one third are work colleagues, one third are people with whom I spend face-to-face social time, and one third are people I would take or leave as real friends but I find interesting on occasion.  Sounds a great deal like my social circle before Facebook existed – just bigger.

Facebook has spread my arms wider than I ever could have imagined and pulled people closer than I ever thought possible. I check in several times each day, usually for no more than 2-3 minutes at a time, unless someone posts a cute video of a pug dog pushing stroller. Then, it’s a little longer.

Because of Facebook, I have connected with old friends who at one time meant a great deal to me but we had lost touch, had access to writers who I admire and read on a regular basis, and stayed remarkably current with family members who I just don’t have time to call.  I know which “friends” post the best videos, which ones will make me laugh, and which ones look out for me.  I am always tickled when someone likes my status.

I understand the dangers of information sharing, the quandaries about who owns the information, and the addictive and voyeuristic nature of the medium.  But all of that is largely controlled by the end users.  Don’t share sensitive information and don’t friend creepy people.

So what do you think MoB readers?  Is Facebook the Devil Incarnate or a Godsend?  Vote in the comments.  Feel free to elaborate.

Oh, and if we are not friends yet, let’s be.  Friend me.

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