In Praise of Facebook
Facebook makes you lonely—what?
I’m a novelist, which means I spend most of my time alone in my study. I live in the small town of Nantucket, which has about twelve thousand people in the winter. I’m married, have friends I walk with, attend plays with, shop with.
But Facebook has expanded and brightened my world in ways I’d never imagined.
I’m listed in the phone book under my husband’s last name. No Nancy Thayer in the phone book. Last month a woman I’ve never met who lives right here on the island contacted me on Facebook to ask me to speak to a woman’s group on the island I never even knew existed. I spoke, and I saw old friends and met new ones. New, living, breathing, people.
I’ve had fans—women I love—contact me on Facebook to say they’re coming to Nantucket and could we meet for coffee? This summer I’m meeting a woman from Massachusetts and a woman from, I’m not kidding, Finland.
A few years ago I tutored a young Hungarian man in English. He became friends with my family. He’s back in Hungary, and his mother and I FB all the time. My husband and I are determined to travel to Hungary to meet her some day.
I have prayed for people whom I’ve only met through Facebook, seen the faces of their newborn babies and thrilled with joy for the mysteries of life. I’ve contacted high school and college friends and traded news. I’ve kept up on the events of current friends who are too busy to phone or email about the small but significant details of their days.
I’ve had my spirits brightened by the cartoons and quotes from people I don’t know—all in a few seconds, while I’m cruising my FB home page. I love starting the day with a laugh or a knowing nod.
I don’t spend much time on Facebook, but the time I spend is unique and life-affirming. Because of Facebook, I see more people in the living flesh than I used to, and I am much more connected to people all over the world.
Thank you, Facebook.