What with one thing and another (Farmville, Word Drop, Scrabble, Word Twist, Scramble) I've been meaning to get around to posting, but for some reason it just didn't happen!
I joined Facebook about 5 years ago, I think, when an acquaintance in the US suggested I follow her son's "posts" for the summer as he went to far flung South American places. (He never did post too much... I think he was too far flung!) But I was in the US (with my laptop and lots of free wi-fi) to spend some time with my mother, and so I figured I'd give it a try.
For the most part, at the time, regarding Facebook, I was underwhelmed and over-paranoid. The whole social networking phenomenon seemed to belong to a different generation. Nor was l that keen on reconnecting with my past, which was, happily, enshrouded in the mists of time and false memories!
The thought of "friending" my granddaughter and grandson was appealing. Of course the grandkids father was also on the kids "friend" list (and yes, OK, he's my oldest son, so I friended him as well.) And then a wandering world traveling friend whom I hadn't seen for ages sent me a message asking if it was really me, in that blurry photo on facebook. Suddenly I was friends with six people and I had barely gotten started!
At the time, as we only had a dial up modem connection, here on Corfu, I became a bit frustrated with connecting and so I pretty much ignored it and rarely if ever opened it up for the next four years.
We finally got DSL up here in the wilds of Vassilika, and I got wireless connection box. Fantastic. But I'd forgotten my Facebook password and besides, my interests had moved on.
I originally started this blog last summer, so my son and the family could sort of keep track of my (now) 15 year old grandson who came to visit us for a couple of months last June. I dabbled with Twitter and Facebook a bit after I started the blog, but it was only after my grandson went back home, I REALLY discovered twitter and started twittering back. That was really fun, and I played with that for a while.
For some reason, around September, everything seemed to merge- my blog, facebook, twitter...and I found myself sucked in to the social network vortex. T went to the States to visit the family, and I found myself spending A LOT of time online.
It was so gradual, I can almost say with my Facebook involvement, that I didn't see it coming. But suddenly I went from 10 friends to 20, and from 20 to 40. I've almost doubled that again and I am trying to keep it down to a managable level because It's not any fun if you have too many people to keep track of and I do like to see what people are doing.
Some friends use Facebook a lot. Some just check in once in a while to see if there are any new messages I suppose. For me, suddenly, I have become a facebook - how shall we say - addict? (I did cut way back on twitter. I started to feel like a lurking stalker following my favorite people, and besides Facebook was taking up a lot more time!)
Lately, since I discovered many of my village friends and neighbors were on facebook my world has changed dramatically! I HAVE to check facebook every morning to touch base. I must see what's going on with all my "games": to whit- Scrabble, Scramble, WordTwist... I am currently playing at least 6 games with people from my village as well as several other word games with friends from other parts of the world. I NEVER thought I'd find myself so enamored with GAMES - but I am.
I seem to have come a long way from the person who couldn't remember her facebook password.
And, Oh yes, I discovered Farmville. An old friend introduced me and then before she neighbored me back, (yes! those who know shake their heads) she stopped playing and disappeared!! (Fine. OK-ay. So you have a life....)
So now, it's sad to see. I'm lost in my little virtual world wherein I plant things, they grow, I sell them. I take care of my farm animals. I harvest truffles and oranges and starfruit, collect eggs, milk goats and cows, shear sheep. I collect feathers, bugs and butterflies. I give bouquets of flowers away to strangers. I rescue lost farm animals. I pet cats. I get excited when I have enough neigbors to buy a dairy barn. It all sounds so boring. I can't even explain to T my bizarre fascination with it. Still there it is.
Currently I am expanding my horizons and getting new "neighbors", all friends of friends on Corfu, in nearby villages!
See? There IS a link to why I'm writing about Farmville and Facebook in a blog about Corfu!!! One third of all my "friends" on Facebook are from Corfu making the whole facebook experience sort of like one big "party line" telephone!
[small footnote to people (and particularly frustrated friends who may be reading this!) who are on Facebook and DETEST Farmville and all the idiot messages that come through over the course of a day from your febrile friends who play... Click "Home" (at the top of the page) then go to the offensive Farmville post. Hover the curser on the right side and a box with the word "Hide" will come up. The box will say Hide
As the days become longer and summer creeps closer, I am sure I will step back from all this technology, and back into swimming and being outdoors for long periods of time- well, at least until it gets REALLY hot outside...
Now and again I wonder at the marvelous potential inherent in social networking for making our world peaceful and happy. I followed the Iranian elections on twitter, and empathised with the young people hoping for a happier existence. The pathos in some tweets was moving and documented a moment in history. For some it was a call to action by many.
More personally, I read on Facebook, the empatheic comments from friends to other friends when someone feels low, or is down from health issues. They are honest responses in real time to a person who could use the feedback! (ie. I feel your pain: right now!)
We humans have the potential to so much positive good, even on a small scale! (a phenomenal response on twitter and Facebook both over the earthquake in Haiti) And yet, we so often squander it away on bad or thoughtless choices.
As another friend said on her blog, in a post about facebook, terrible slander can also be spread via facebook. Damaging things that can destroy a person's good name or livelihood are bandied about with no thought of veracity or long term implications.
(I find the "fan groups" on Facebook, fascinating and sometimes bizarre and once in a while slightly repulsive, for instance, a group against selling the Greek Monuments and Islands. ??? The idea was ludicrous enough to begin with!! But a fan group to petition Europe to pay for all that Greek culture had given to the world?? Strange.)
Another virtual friend of mine has found herself stalked by her ex in a very unhappy situation of well meaning Facebook friends, making it impossible for her to keep her connection to her other friends and family because of it. (She had to cancel her Facebook account.)
I suppose we can't shoot the messenger which in this case is Facebook, on the other hand I guess I will say that when you are online, it's wise to take care of your privacy and choose your friends wisely.
Long since have I been "unfriended" by the acquaintance who got me into Facebook. (an odd feeling that- not that there were any deep personal ties, at all. The nature of the word "unfriend" feels a bit like a virtual social divorce!) But in spite of many pros and cons, I am glad I got involved in Facebook.
To me, it's better to go forwards rather than backwards with technology. New things can be fun, test your ingenuity, and used for good things. And it can be excellent for keeping the brain cells active and functional.
At least that's my story and I'm sticking to it.