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How Facebook changed my life

  • 19 May 2010

You never read anything good about Facebook. In fact until two years ago, the impression I had gained from everything I had read about it was so poor that, if the ghost of Christmas future had told me I would one day be an active participant, I would not have believed him.

I am a writer and, like many writers, an introvert. I am also a very cautious person. I have always been hesitant to reveal much of myself. The kind of social interaction I am most comfortable with is the intense one-to-one discussion.

So why would Facebook, with its reputation for superficiality and promiscuous over-sharing, appeal to me?

It didn't. But one night I read the blog of a friend —  an extrovert, an optimist, and a ready embracer of the new. I noticed a little logo in the right-hand column proclaiming that she was on Facebook, and I wondered what her Facebook profile was like. So I clicked, realised I would have to join in order to see it, considered, decided to join just to have a look around and then depart, and signed up.

I don't remember forming an opinion before I turned off the computer and went to bed that night, but I do remember that when I woke up the next morning I had about ten friend requests. Most were from fellow children's authors whom I knew either personally or by reputation.

It was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. With Facebook, I mean —  but also with many other people, some of whom I would never otherwise have met, some with whom I had already had some contact, but whose beautiful personalities revealed themselves to me more deeply in cyberspace. Some had simply read my books.

People say that Facebook is superficial. The truth is that everybody approaches Facebook in a different way. Part of the fascination lies in the differences. Some people tell you what they are doing from hour to hour — and even those ordinary things, what one friend is cooking for dinner, what another friend's three-year-old just said, I find delightful.

Some people post links to reviews or to articles on subjects they find interesting: I love this! Many people, including myself, share music videos from YouTube. How delightful it can be to be reminded of a long-forgotten song, or to discover that a Facebook friend has similar musical taste!

Some write progress reports on the novel