I haven't got the hang of this facebook thing. I stare at the box where I should say something about my status - every day, or any time of the day, just like that - and I am stumped. What should I say about what's going on with me? Am I really thinking about anything in the world worth sharing or worth inviting others to comment on? I don't get angry enough about anything. I don't necessarily want to post photos of myself. I don't think that I have any profound thoughts that can be expressed in 50 words or so. I do however appreciate the opportunity to flip through the albums of friends and relatives, and to peek into the inner lives, anxieties and celebrations of the people to whom I have linked myself in the virtual on-line community.
It's not meant to be such a serious process, my daughter says. Just think of it as a fun way to keep in touch, and post whatever comes into your head. Be spontaneous. You can be "friends" with lots of people without the headache of being a friend. Don't be so intense. Of course, she's right. You don't have to invite them home for lunch, negotiate a time to meet, or wonder if anyone will get along with your other friends, what their political views might be, or even if they are here in Trinidad, or on the other side of the world, in New Zealand say.
You can scan their photo albums, see the children growing up, the vacations and places they visit, and be in touch at a few key strokes. You can show as much or as little of your own life as you wish. You hope that others don't judge your low output of comments, photos, interaction, as a life not worth having; especially as days and weeks pass and you haven't changed the profile photo or indicated that you are still breathing.
For the time being, I won't give it up though. Thanks to the few friends who use it as a regular journal of their thoughts and lives, it's possible to become aware of issues where they are; to use it as a platform to pay attention to what's going on outside -sometimes way outside oneself and one's daily routine. It doesn't replace the friends that you call up, hail on the street, or want to see just to give a hug.
Five months on - and two blogs later, I have come round to facebook as a great tool to connect to another level of global consciousness, with the potential to enhance real life friendships. Connect and enjoy!