A few weeks ago I took the plunge and joined the world of Facebook! Notice the title is “re-joining Facebook” – I have been on there before. Many many years ago when it first launched. It was great during university and for a couple of years after but once I got in to the world of work it somehow lost its appeal.
So why did I leave Facebook? It became ridiculous the amount of “friends” I had on there. Hundreds. When in actual fact my “real friends” I could count on one hand. I had their mobile numbers, I saw them all the time, so why did I need Facebook to keep in touch with them. Plus in my line of work I was beginning to see the trouble that Facebook can cause. The photographs that spark controversy, the comments you wish you hadn’t read, the photographs you wish you hadn’t seen. The troubles it could cause with relationships, the privacy that it shattered; it just wasn’t worth it. So I left. And for perhaps 7 years I haven’t used it.
What made me decide to rejoin? As the mother of a 14 month old and as a full time stay-at-home mum taking a career break, I can find that it is quite a lonely and isolating place. We get out of course, I see friends, we go to baby groups, we go to swimming classes, we are rarely ever at home. But the groups and classes are great for the 30-45 minutes that you’re at them, but no body seems to socialise outside of them. Or if they do, I am not involved. I’m not the most confident person in the world, and while I find it easy to make small talk, it’s a little harder taking it to the next step and satin “hey I’m lonely and wondered if you might like to be my friend”.
So Facebook allowed me to get involved with the group pages dedicated to our music group and our swimming class. I only intended to join for this purpose. But I quickly started to get friend requests from old school friends I haven’t seen for 10 years, old university friends, ex work colleagues. And it was amazing to see that people who were 17 or 18 last time I saw them, are now mums and dads themselves. It gave me a warm feeling inside to reminisce about old times and reflect on how far we have come. It also has made me feel a little less alone.
Although I left Facebook because I wasn’t interested in seeing photographs of my old friends going out getting drunk week after week, it’s now lovely to see how we have all evolved and to see photos of them and their families is brilliant. And I feel proud to be able to share photos of me and my family. I have also come across some people who posted old school photographs of my old class, and to be reminded of how much I have progressed since then is a good feeling. I have gone from being an over weight, under confident teenager, to an almost-30-year-old mother and wife with a responsible career.
I am glad that I rejoined. I won’t let my “friends” get out of hand this time and will screen the requests that I get. Social media certainly has its good and bad points, but for the stage of my life that I am now in, I feel that there is a place for Facebook to re-enter my life.