OK – so Facebook could be a good thing.

I do have a number of views about Facebook, some I’ve already shared in this blog. “Smoasting” is a big turn-off of mine (the ole ‘my life is better than your life displayed for everyone to see on social media’ bit). However today, I was touched to read on my own newsfeed, one of the good things about Facebook.

Whilst the ‘global community’ seems to get closer with the advent of social media, our own residential or local communities appear to be getting more distant. We no longer have contact with many of our neighbours; we shop in large malls rather than an all-providing retail high street; we write less letters to keep in touch with families. We have less day-to-day interaction with ‘real’ people because of the technology around us.

But maybe with Facebook, there is a barrier that can sometimes be crossed which brings a community (or communities) together. Three things appeared in my own newsfeed in the last 24 hours, which made me stop and read and make comment on:

- locally: a good school-mummy friend shared the devastating news that her sister has been diagnosed with a brain tumour. Maybe in posting this, she was looking for a little sympathy and support; maybe she was letting people know on FB because it was hard for her to say it out loud. Whatever her reasons, her local community is all sharing in her troubling times with messages of support, care and understanding;

- regionally: it’s amazing how quickly posts can go ‘viral’ particularly when it’s a missing child or teenager. After all, it’s these very people who are using this medium and may very well know the whereabouts. Forget the trolls – this surely must be considered a positive use of FB? I wonder how many people have been found through this medium? Sure beats posters on a wall or pictures on the side of the milk carton.

- globally: I was inspired by a post shared by another friend, of a film maker who used the promotional budget given by Warner Bros, to support the victims of the typhoon in the Philippines. Every dollar of his budget was used to buy food and necessary equipment for desperate people. Now – I am also a bit of a cynic. Whilst the promotional trailer was not made, and another nation did benefit, Warner Bros did still achieve their goal (the film the trailer was supposed to be for was “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”) – so in a sense, because of this guy’s ability to make his own experiences ‘viral’, the film company achieved their goal. But you can’t knock the sentiment and the result this guy achieved – however self-fulfilling it might’ve been.

So – I don’t always have a bad thing to say about Facebook. From my own experiences, I know it brings me closer to friends who don’t live near to me. But ‘smoasters’ beware – if I see something that upsets me, I may be compelled to post it here!

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