Photo by: Jenai Collins Bee and flower on UF campus
For those who know me, it is no surprise that family bonds and connections are very important to me. To those of you who are getting to know me through this blog well, now you know. I deeply treasure the bonds that are made with family and that includes family that we create through relationships. I have many family members in my life that were created not by marriage or by birth and to me those relationships are just as important as the traditional family.
This brings me to the purpose of this post, Facebook. Yes, I know there are many who don't like it, don't understand it, are scared of it and then there are those who are addicted to it. Some that probably share WAY TOO MUCH (TMI) info on it, but I believe if used with common sense it can be a fantastic tool to stay connected, reconnect and to make new connections with friends and family.
If you are anything like me, you struggle with letter writing and even picking up the phone. Don't know why, can't explain my aversion to taking the time to do it, I just never really cared for it much. However, oddly enough I always love receiving a letter from a family member or friend. OK so maybe it's laziness, I'll admit to that possibility, sheepishly. Yes, mom, I said it, plain laziness. I know, I know, how many times have you had to hand me a blank note card and pen and tell me, write it now and I'll send it. Oh yes, and I know that it has been in the very recent of time. ha,ha,ha! Thanks mom for not giving up on me and reminding me to do what needed to be done. Who says parenting ends at 18?
What's this have to do with facebook? Well, I guess in a few words it equals instant gratification. You can send a quick note to your loved ones and you know that a response is likely to be sent in a matter of either minutes, a few hours or in some unusual cases a few days. But, in the meantime, you can view their pictures, read their updates and feel like you haven't missed out on being involved in their life, regardless of miles that may separate you or the years that have passed that have separated you.
Over the past week I have been blessed to have the opportunity to reconnect with family members that I haven't seen or talked with in YEARS. Can't really say why or how we lost connection and maybe that's really not important. Forget the past and move on to today and hopefully the future. Also, the ability to stay in better contact with family members who I don't get to see on a regular basis, has been priceless. Then there is the factor of finding or being found by family that you didn't even know you had or have never met.
I must admit, it can all become very overwhelming and time consuming and I have not really had the chance to reach out to many of the family members that I have added as friends on my facebook account. I have cousins, aunts & uncles that I've never really met yet and it would be wonderful to finally have the chance to get to know them. Now the challenge is to find enough time to do it.
If you haven't delved into the world of Facebook, I say give it try. Talk with your family members and encourage them to open an account and watch how your connections bloom into a web of family, friends and classmates. You can choose to keep your info as private or public as your are comfortable with. But do note that anything you do online can eventually be seen or found in some way or another, so always use discretion and care with what you post online. Don't give out your phone #, address, etc. on your wall. Contact the individual directly either through facebook messaging or email and give them that info if you are interested in connecting through more traditional means. Be mindful of the pictures you post of yourself and others as well as what others post of you. Something that may really be innocent can sure look incriminating online or maybe might not shed the best light on you and your character. We've seen evidence of high profile folks who have made comments or posted info on facebook or other social networking services that ended up causing some kind of scandle or problem. Don't let this happen to you.
Facebook has also been a great way for me to share with friends and family my hobbies and personal business ventures, giving them an opportunity to show their support and encouragement. Each time someone makes a comment on a recent post or addition to my fan page it spreads virally to others who then become curious and take a peak at my business page or blog.
I would love to hear stories of your experiences on facebook. Have you found a long lost love, made a love connection, reconnected with a lost family member? Please share these with me. You can share your story in the comment section below.
Please remember that life can be short and at times fragile, so don't wait until tomorrow to say hello, I love you, just thinking about you, miss you, let's get together or whatever else may be in your heart or mind to say to a friend or family member. Do it today! Do it now! Trust me there may be a day that you will be thankful that you took the time to let that person know you were thinking of them. If facebook isn't for you, then find another way to connect with others and share in their lifes journey and let them experience yours as well. It is with these connections to others that we are really able to live a life full of love, joy, happiness and at times even saddness. Don't miss your chance to share these times with each other. Take a moment to encourage, congratulate, spread some joy to someone in your life that you may have lost touch with or with even those who remain in constant contact with.