Facebook: Friend or Foe?


“There was a little girl, and she had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
When she was good, she was very, very good,
But when she was bad, oh!  she was horrid.”  Mother Goose

Oh Facebook, you soul sucking monster, how I have missed you.  Well maybe that is a bit of an overstatement.  I have missed the sense of community that you offer.  I have missed hearing about what my friends and relatives are up to in their lives.  And I miss hearing about world events, because as difficult as this is to admit, Facebook is where I get my news.   Crazy but true.  (The real news is just far too depressing, you see).

My month off from the land of newsfeeds and memes has been gloriously unencumbered and with this found time I have been prolific with my writing.  My thoughts seem quieter.  I am finding it easier to be in the NOW without all of the extraneous noise of my newsfeed.  I have often likened the status stream to our own monkey minds.  All of these thoughts are shouted out to the world and none of them mean much at all.  Facebook as a metaphor for Ego?  Sure, why not?

But on the other hand I see the joining of like minds, the love and support that can be found there, the tearing down of walls and divisions and those things would very much echo the song of the spirit.   We gather in these tribes on Facebook, finding likeminded souls and soon we are crying over Sandra’s losses though we’ve never met face to face, or laughing at what Maria’s child said, though she and I have yet to be in each other’s physical presence.  We send prayers and loving energy when we are asked, or even when we aren’t.  We love people, though we would not know them if we passed on the street.  We have created a global community, and that has made my world so much richer.  Facebook as a metaphor for Spirit?  Okay!

I have learned to never underestimate the power of social media to affect change in the world.  Facebook movements have seen such amazing things as the overthrow of corrupt governments, the advancement of marriage equality, the instant access to information, opinions, help and guidance and then some really important stuff like getting Betty White to host SNL.

I have also learned that there is a dark side to Facebook, and other social media sites.  The energy shared there, whether happy or sad, can have a huge effect on the followers.  And then there is cyber bullying.  The distance afforded by the screen has allowed otherwise civilized children, (and adults) to say things and do things that they would never dream of saying or doing in person.  And we all know how devastating the results of some of these actions have been.

Facebook, it brings out the best and the worst we can be (shout out to Billy Joel, love that guy).  But Facebook is just the tool, and it is up to us as individuals how we want that tool to work for us in our lives.  Will I go back onto Facebook?  Yes.  I think I will.  But when I do I will not allow it to eat into my time as it has in the past.  Instead I will use it as my connection to the great tapestry of souls who have become my family, taking the good and being ever aware of the bad.  And like any tool, I will remember that it is for me to use, not for it to use me.

“Distracted from distraction by distraction.”  T.S. Eliot

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