Facebook makes me happy. I'm not a particularly social person, so I don't know why that is, but it does. Or maybe it's because I'm not a particularly social person that it does. The last nine years have been extremely helpful in showing that my son's apple didn't fall far from his mama's tree; some of his social issues are clearly my issues. But on FB, I can be social when I want to be, I can stay away when I don't want to be. I can catch up on other people's goings-on, I can catch other people up on my goings-on. I have permission to sort through other people's lives, they can sort through mine if they're so inclined. (My favorite FB Bumper Sticker? "It isn't stalking if I see it on Facebook!") I can see that the ripples intersect and make some pretty cool-looking Venn diagrams.
Those FB people are pretty smart, too. They've given us the HIDE button. I can hide "friends" who annoy me with their constantly changing status updates. I don't mind the "what's for dinner" updates -- I live vicariously through some of them -- and I'm usually interested in what they're doing today. I definitely like hearing about triumphs, and I'm quite willing to add them to my prayer list. What I'm talking about, though, are the people who tell me that they've just woken up. (Good.) Fifteen minutes later, I learn that the coffee has brewed. (OK. So has mine.) Another 10 minutes, and I learn that they're going to drive to their physical therapy appointment. (I get an update on health, and hey, I'm running errands, too!) An hour later and I learn all about the therapies one can have at physical therapy. (Now I'm getting twitchy.) Add an hour and I find out that the bird feeder needs to be refilled. (And the point is?) It goes on and on. Twenty times a day status updates appear on my home page, and I go on overload. Honestly, if I wanted to know that much about the minutiae of their lives, I'd have married them. Don't get me wrong -- I still care. If I'm going to get flooded, I just prefer to put on my waders and visit their home pages in my own timeframe.
HIDING isn't limited to Friends, either! Oh, no! I can hide those really annoying Farmville and Mafia Wars applications, too! HIDE! And your personal horoscope. Nice that you're a Pisces, but I'm not. HIDE! Poker winnings? HIDE! You're most like Marylin Monroe? HIDE! If you were a handbag, you'd be Prada? HIDE! You entered to win a $100 Target gift card? HIDE! If you were a piece of furniture, you'd be a gateleg table? HIDE! I think someone at Facebook has Asperger's.
A sidebar to my increased use of Facebook is my decreased use of e-mail. I used to check my e-mail repeatedly. I'd turn the volume up on my computer so that I could hear "the ping" from across the house. Oh, what joy to be pinged! Now, I leave the volume up on my computer so that I can hear the blip of a FB update. Do I have a little red Notification circle? Oh, joy!
All in all, Facebook lets me touch base with people that I wouldn't keep in contact with otherwise. And that's a good thing.