Rob Oxford: Facebook - It Is What You Make It

Friday, March 1, 2019

Barbi and her daddy
By Rob Oxford

My children have been telling me for quite some time that "no one their age uses Facebook" anymore. The social platform of choice for pre-teens, teens and young adults these days is Instagram, Snapchat or maybe Twitter.

Are you kidding me? I still need them to show me how to adjust certain settings on my phone and place someone on hold in order to answer an "incoming" call. I'm not about to dive head first into the unchartered waters of some other social media platform. I'm not a teen, I'm not a young adult and personally, I like Facebook.

First and foremost Facebook has allowed me to reconnect with friends who had long been forgotten. It enables me to share photos, life events and information with relatives all over the country and in some instances the world. It helps me to promote my band, my radio show and at times provides me limitless entertainment.

With that being said, there are always precautions one must take when engaging in activities "online". Using social media can certainly have its drawbacks, but it is what you make it.

I recently saw a post that warned against answering those quizzes that require you to unwittingly share your personal information. Information that you sometimes use in passwords like "your dog's name", "favorite color", "your middle name spelled alphabetically" (to see if people can figure it out), your first car or where you grew up? Granted all of that information is probably already available to a hacker interested in causing havoc in your life, but I would prefer they have to do a little digging as opposed to me serving it to them on a silver platter.

The link for that particular article is HERE

Now, discussing politics on Facebook is dangerous territory. All to often it leads to hurt feelings. I try my darndest to shy away from "heated" debates. In my experience they are unwinnable. I have my opinion and you have yours, the key is to respect both. Unfortunately, I will see something I know I should scroll past, but it just draws me in.

Like a moth to a flame or an unopened package of Oreo cookies at 2am, I just can't resist. 

I do however try to be informed and research my responses before posting. Admittedly I will occasionally make mistakes and let my emotions get the better of me. It is then that I must "own" those mistakes and try to make amends. Fortunately, that too is something Facebook has afforded me... the opportunity to address my flaws of character. The opportunity to expand my horizons and consider other people's points of view. I'm not always successful at doing so but I do try.

To some Facebook is considered a great "time waster" and I suppose that is true. Again, it is what you make it.

However, before Facebook the communities in which we lived were much smaller and more centralized. Before Facebook I had no idea there was such a thing as the "ice bucket challenge". Before Facebook I didn't realize so many of my friends had been arrested, divorced, never flown on a plane, never traveled out of the country or as in the case of my friend Barbi Lange Holt...adopted.

On the 2 year anniversary of her Father's passing Barbi shared the story of how..."there was once a tiny little girl just under four years old, when a man looked around at all the little orphans in need of a Daddy and proclaimed 'That one. That skinny little runt with the pathetic look and long sad ponytails over there. I want that one!' He plucked her up and took her home and told his wife - Who always wanted a little girl of her own - 'clean her up, wash her hair, and cut off that damn hair!' The wife did so and (instead of cutting it) brushed the long, blonde hair into shape. The man came home and took one look at this little orphan and told his wife 'Woman, you better never ever cut that hair!'. He then spent the rest of his life doing everything possible to protect and bring happiness to his daughter. I was an orphan no more. I had a family. I had a mommy and a daddy. But he wasn't just any daddy. He was a superhero with super powers and an inimitable personality."

Barbi's post literally made me cry tears of joy. That's why I like Facebook. That's why I don't consider it a "Time Waster".

Before Facebook I'd never witnessed so many acts of heroism caught on film, I'd never read so many stories of inspiration, laughed at puppies playing or giggled at a thick-accented Scotsman and his Grandson playing "Pie Face".

Whether you scroll Facebook for recipes, classic movie clips, local events, amazing amature photographs, desirable destinations, or clever new gadgets, all can be found with the click of a mouse. In fact you can also find the best way to catch one (a mouse) humanely.

Facebook, it is what you make it.



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