Facebook stories

So Mark Zuckerberg is Time magazine's Person of the Year.

You would think there's someone more deserving. But as The Onion so eloquently writes, you've gotta hand it to the guy. (I snicker every time I think of that headline.)

And to think I was initially skeptical of Facebook when I logged on for the first time. I thought MySpace was going to be forever.

Facebook is not for everyone. I get that. And I'm becoming more convinced that the people who don't get it probably never will. ... I still find the world of Facebook so fascinating.
This year, Facebook — now minus the the — added its 550 millionth member. One out of every dozen people on the planet has a Facebook account. They speak 75 languages and collectively lavish more than 700 billion minutes on Facebook every month. Last month the site accounted for 1 out of 4 American page views. Its membership is currently growing at a rate of about 700,000 people a day.
What I love most about Facebook is the way it's simplified my ability to stay connected with friends from my childhood, my youth and my college days, former and current coworkers, teachers and family members. And its ability to enhance those relationships.

I'm not the guy on Facebook playing Farmville and Mafia Wars and all of the other silly games that plug newsfeeds and turn some users' profiles into carnival stands. I've never accepted a single request to join those games. I pride myself on being able to pick out the spam and won't click on anything that appears suspicious. I limit my groups to legitimate causes and things that truly interest me, not what's trendy. Same goes for my Facebook friends. I won't accept a request from anyone I don't have an open, personal relationship with.

Growing up, I had the unique and wonderful experience of having two childhoods. One in Wisconsin and another in Kansas. I had no idea back then, but the transition from one to another occurred at such an age in my life that both eras played a significant roles in my life.

I was old enough that I could hold on to my memories of my elementary years in Wisconsin and not so old that my youth in Kansas barely mattered. I'm developing similar sentiments now that we're a year into our Missouri residency and I look back at the early years of my adulthood in K-Town.

This post is turning into one of my classic ramblings.

My point is: Facebook has allowed me to connect with friends from my recent and distant past, all in one virtual universe. This week I reconnected with yet another childhood friend. A person of whom I have fond childhood memories, and I'd wondered all these years what became of her. Turns out she's doing well, raising a beautiful family, appears as bubbly as a I remember her, and she now has a Missouri connection.

I'm a sucker for nostalgia. I enjoy people and dialogue, whether I'm creating it or monitoring it. I embrace the past because it's shaped who I am today and who I will be in the future. As I've said about Facebook all along: You'll get out of it what you put into it.

It’s also a log of the ups and downs of our daily lives. I love the days when my newsfeed lights up with joyous status updates referring to the same exciting game I'm watching, almost as though you're in the same living room. … Or there are the days we reach out and rally around our Facebook friends when tragedy strikes. I’ve found myself in the latter situation twice in recent weeks.

Along those lines, two heart-wrenching stories I read this week that involve Facebook in varied ways are having a big impact on my thinking. ...

The first tells the story of a new mother and father who shared their horribly tragic circumstances on Facebook. A Facebook story: A mother's joy and a family's sorrow.

The second makes only a mention of Facebook -- but even the mention of it, and the role it played in this woman’s story, I think, shows the applications place in our culture. That and the fact that I learned of the story when an old reporter friend of mine who works at the Register posted it on her Facebook page. It's three parts, but it's worth reading every word. Eric's last wishes.

Connect with friends.

(Updated 1.3.2010)
Here's some other worthy reads ...
aHomeless man in D.C. uses Facebook, social media to advocate for others like him
aThe death of email as we know it? Not so fast
aFacebook passes Google as most popular site on the Internet, two measures show

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