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Saturday, November 1, 2014

My love affair with Facebook

Why am I starting off NaBloPoMo with a post about Facebook, you ask? Shouldn't I be writing about theaters or grad school or something less, well, trivial? I'll get to those things. This is about a core idea and I'm using my Facebook relationship as an example.
Yes, that is me with Miss Piggy.

I love almost everything about Facebook because of this one thing: it is a platform that engenders building relationships. (I'll get to the one thing I don't like in a bit.) Building relationships is what I do for a living; it is my special gift to this world.

Facebook is designed to connect you with people you have a lot in common with (sometimes IRL, sometimes just online) and then make that relationship deeper by having a conversation about those things/people/ideas. It can happen anytime (unlike Twitter) and across facets of your life (unlike LinkedIn) and with words AND images (unlike Pinterest, Instagram, and Flickr).

I have my current job because of Facebook: both the hire-er and the connector knew me IRL but the relationship grew on Facebook. My husband has his current job because I forced him to post that he was looking for a new gig in his passion and a friend responded they had an opening in his company and it was kismet. Could both of those things have happened outside of Facebook? Probably. As quickly as they did? Unlikely.

People like to hate on Facebook, much like they hate on any organization that changes often and has become the biggest player in its niche. The look or privacy settings or the way posts show up all change. In fact, that is the one thing I Don't like about it: the algorithm underlying the way posts show up isn't helpful, for anyone, really. I wish there was a setting that could I could change to "see everything." As it is, I make judicious use of lists and news feed changes and visit folk's pages when I think I haven't heard anything from them in a while.

Just like we do in real life.

Building relationships--whether online or in the theater--takes time, curiosity, and a penchant for both listening and remembering. Do I have close relationships with the several hundreds of friends on Facebook? Do I have close relationships with the several hundred patrons who attend my theater in a given quarter? The point is that I want to and taking the time every day to connect in a small way helps make that want a reality.

Of course, Facebook doesn't really allow me to do this kind of writing, which is why I'm attempting to work over here more over the next month. I'll be cross-posting, so join the conversation wherever feels most natural. Which, right now for me, is on Facebook.

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