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July 6, 2019

Why you should, or shouldn't use Facebook


I had an opportunity yesterday to see the two extremes of attitudes about Facebook, and about social media itself. I was helping a friend install Facebook on his phone, which he had never used, and I also got a fairly heated argument against it from another friend, who was sitting with us while we were drinking coffee at McDonalds.

And as someone who has taught computer software for years (because after all that's all Facebook is), I know that it always starts with whether a person will find it useful or not. And let's be clear on this: I'm in total agreement with you as to your opinion, because you're right. Opinions are always right. So listen to yourself before you invest time in learning, and using, any software program, including Facebook.

There's the hassle of downloading the software, of creating a username, of creating and remembering a password. There are a lot of mysterious little pictures of things (called icons) and there are terms that you will have to learn (like what a "post" is). And it really comes down to whether you feel the effort is worth it.

I've always taken the approach of trying something a bit, and if I don't like it, I don't do it anymore. This can apply to anything in life, unless of course I can see from a distance that I REALLY won't like it - like bungee-cord jumping, or eating sushi. No amount of argument from anyone is going to do anything but irritate me.

So here you go: If you really don't like throwing yourself into a social situation, and you don't like spending time looking at your phone, or computer, Facebook is not for you. You may be someone who prefers to talk to friends face-to-face, or on the telephone. And if your communication style is mostly one-on-one, Facebook will just make you uncomfortable. Facebook is like a big party where all of your friends can hear you, and all of their friends, too. You may have a small and select group of friends that you see regularly.

At the other end of the extreme, there are people like the friend that I just helped get on Facebook. He's far away from home, staying with his brother recovering from an illness, and his friends back home really don't know what's going on with him. He certainly can't do a face-to-face with people that far away, and it's just impractical for him to try to call everyone, some of whom he doesn't know their number. So he was very enthusiastic about the idea of Facebook.

I took a photo of him right there in McDonalds and helped him set up his account. He started finding friends right away, who were delighted to see his face, and know that he was alive and well. And like all social media, it's best to really have nothing important to say.

I hope this helps. It's your choice.

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