A Tosa resident for almost 20 years, Karen is a mom and freelance writer, addicted to playing tennis. When not on the tennis court, she spends the fall and winter in the stands at Green Bay Packer and Marquette basketball games.
Karen is the author of “Grab a Bite,” a dining out column and the former community columnist for the Wauwatosa NOW newspaper.
I have found my friends and family in the most unlikely places lately – for instance on Facebook. People who seem so, um…analog…are throwing in the towel and joining the likes of me in the digital age. Heck, it’s a certified trend as evidenced by this article in a recent issue of Time Magazine.
Here in our house we are all Facebook regulars. My kids, of course, were first to climb on board. I ended up there accidentally, intending just to peek in and have a look around. My husband was last. It was a birthday present from us – a Facebook account – and although reluctant, he’s starting to find his share of friends and classmates and I know he checks in daily.
What is the allure of Facebook? Well, first and foremost, it’s free. Outside of the cost of your time, you can be entertained, amused, enlightened, educated and perhaps reconnected with the touch of a button.
What the heck do we do on Facebook? I share photos of trips, events or maybe just nights out on the town. I sometimes chat with a friend who is logged in at the same time. I enjoy reading articles or seeing videos that my Facebook friends think are worthy or interesting. And sometimes we do silly things like post “memes” or notes such as “25 Random Things About Me.”
Having a college kid, I love Facebook because I feel just a tad bit closer to him. I find out what my son thinks is cool or, unfortunately, I can tell when he’s having a bad day. Could I find this out by calling his cell phone? Sure, but the way that he represents himself on Facebook is such a reflection of his personality, that for me, it’s more fun to “read” his thoughts than try to drag them out of him as he walks to class. Plus, I read about movies, books and quotes that he likes and sometimes see what his friends write on his “wall.”
Are there dangers on Facebook. Of course. It’s the internet. There are dangers everywhere on the internet. This past week, there’s been a huge flap about the content that Facebook users post and whether or not it belongs to them or to Facebook. Today, they sent a message stating that it belongs to us. However, I’m of the belief that if you post it on the internet, it belongs to everyone, so post carefully.
For me, the photo option on Facebook is the best. I can put my photos from a trip into an album on my Facebook page. I can send a link to any non-Facebook members and they can look at them. And sometimes other Facebook friends look at them too. The funny thing is, these are people who I would almost never bore with a stack of photos from a trip. On Facebook they can look at all, a few or none of them. No pressure.
Now my friends are starting to venture into other “social networking” sites as well. Twitter has the world buzzing with its micro-blogging and mini-posts. I haven’t yet ventured over there, but I’m sure curiosity will win out. The same thing with LinkedIn which is another social networking site geared toward business people.
Is it confusing? A little. But honestly, this is the future. This is what our kids know. To them, it’s as commonplace as a microwave is to us. (And remember how that gadget blew our grandparents’ minds back in the 70’s!) I personally want to know what this is all about. I don’t have to love it or embrace it or even join it, but before I decide it’s not for me, I want to at least kick the tires once or twice.
Yes, it’s a brave new world. The question is, are we all brave new people?