Facebook has completely redefined the term “friend.” It’s like the Greeks’ definition of love. There are 4 types: Agape (brotherly love), Eros (passionate love), Philia (friendship), and Storge (familial love). In the Facebook world, there are also 4 types:
1. Old friends from high school and college.
2. Family and friends of the family.
3. Internet friends you’ve never met in person but you truly admire.
4. People you don’t remember but you accepted their request because you had like, 30 mutual friends.
I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life on the internet. It started when I found people on Prodigy who, like me, adored Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek). At times the internet consumed me. Other times it bored me. Sometimes it made me laugh so hard that if I tried to explain it to anyone in the real world, it made no sense. Other times, it left me face down in the bed crying.
But I don’t have ups and downs with Facebook. If necessary, I can do without it but it has enriched my life in ways I never thought possible. This is why:
1. I learned about a high school friend named Kathleen diagnosed with breast cancer. She updates her status with Vince Lombardi quotes like this one:
I firmly believe that any man’s finest hour, the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear, is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.
2. Another friend named Jody whose daughter lost her friend when a car struck her as she walked along a road.
3. I followed my cousin Kim’s relationship status which blossomed into a happy wedding in Mississippi (she also provided me info about my uncle who was a World War 2 hero).
4. Found lots of pics of me and my family at my nephew Neil’s wedding.
5. Saw an album my brother Charlie created of our brother Bruce who passed over 2 years ago. There were pictures imprinted in my brain and some I’d never seen before.
6. Whenever I write an entry here, it appears under my status so I get a few more clicks.
7. I see pics of children of my high school and college friends to see how much their young’ns look like them.
8. My friend Becky, who I haven’t seen in 20 years, lives fairly close to me. Now we go to the beach together with our five kids total.
So whatever your reason for Facebook time, good or bad (in my case good because I stopped watching television), look at what happened with social networking. I bet the good outweighs the bad.
UPDATE: One more good thing about Facebook. I found out my very funny friend Eric met Hunter Thompson twice. Here’s what he wrote:
First meet was through a motorcycle racer/cycle magazine buddy and it was, “Hi, this is Eric,” and we said “Hello.” Second meet was Aspen on a motorcycle trip. I pulled into the Shell gas station and he rode in on a Ducati. He was doing an article for Cycle World magazine. We briefly talked about the Ducati and I mentioned we met before. He looked at me like I was an idiot eating paste from the jar.