Bottom line…I wanted to make a place where all of my good friends can mingle, get to know each other…and even me!…a little better.
Facebook has been a great thing in my life. I think the same is true for everybody who reads this blog, as well. Through FB, I’ve gotten back in touch with old school friends. And not just friends I graduated high school with, but good friends from early grade school days who moved away and I’d never heard from again. In my book, that alone makes Facebook a winner.
But that’s not all. I’ve also been able to get back in touch with co-workers I’ve lost contact with over the years, especially from the California Conservation Corps. Louis L’Amour said “Trail dust is thicker than blood,” and after spending a summer on a Backcountry trail crew with the same 20 people or so, you really do feel closer than a family. But then life happens. The next thing you know, it’s been years since you’ve heard from the people who for one moment in your life were closer than brothers and sisters. You try the last address/phone number and find out they’re gone. Moved on. But guess what? Years…decades…later, they’re now popping up on Facebook! Woo-HOO!! Another win for Facebook!
I’ve discovered a side benefit to this one. While looking for old CCC buddies, I’ve discovered the whole wide world of everybody else who has been in the CCC, or at Del Norte Center, or on Backcountry trail crews. People who I have never met face to face have shared experiences with me from simply having been though the program. There is a bonding and camaraderie there that I suspect is usually found only in military unit associations or high school/college alumni. I have tried to organize CCC/Backcountry alumni associations before…have discussed them with Peter Lewis…but given the transient highly mobile lifestyles of so many CCC/Backcountry alum, there was no infrastructure intact to really make it happen before Facebook. Another score!
And then…as if that weren’t enough…I’ve made friends on the Internet at various discussion groups and forums over the years. I’ve caught up with some of those Internet friends on Facebook and now, with all of the Facebook ‘sharing’, I feel like I’ve come to know them more as true friends, even though we have never met face to face.
So the sun shines brighter and the coffee smells richer because of Facebook, right? Well there have been some drawbacks.
Where do I start?
Facebook is really optimized for Twitter-length posts. I know…technically, you can post more than 140 characters. But it is designed mainly for communicating in short, pithy comments.
How can you have substantive political conversations in Twitter posts? You can’t. This usually isn’t a problem when you are talking to people cut from the same political cloth as yourself. However, I have friends from a pretty wide political, social, and theological spectrum. I have found myself more than once trying to reply to status updates, only to give up because a complete response would require at least 500 words…and usually more like 1500-2000 words! And when we have to make short replies like that, assumptions are made on both sides which cause hard feelings and bad blood. Yuck. Basically, I needed a place with enough room to develop my thoughts. So…here we are!