Can you remember life without Facebook? Of course you can. If you’re an adult, you’ve lived many years without the online social networking service and if you’re African American, there’s a good chance Facebook has only been part of your life for five years or so.
According to stats taken a couple of years ago, 52 percent of Americans are on Facebook and of those, about 12 percent were African Americans. But even though some of us were late to the party, we’ve more than made up for it by making it part of our daily rituals.
I certainly don’t go a day without it. In the early years, yes, I was a pioneer of sorts. I used it primarily to connect with family and friends. And an informal Facebook poll I conducted tells me most of you use it that way too.
The immediacy of Facebook, says one respondent, beats waiting around for cards and letters (partly the reason the United States Post Office may soon be obsolete).
Many said they don’t know how they would have been able to keep up with out-of-state family members if it wasn’t for Facebook. It has been a Godsend for families who are spread all over the country.
Several women mentioned how they were able to foster a village of moms who they could relate to. Makes sense. With the majority of African American women being heads of their households, and most of the others working outside of the home as well, we are busier than ever. Few of us have the luxury of taking advantage of “mommy and me” classes, “mother’s day out” or networking with other moms on a regular basis. What we can do is use our Facebook posts to vent, brag or commiserate with our peers without investing too much time and no money.
With Facebook, no one ever is alone.
One poster said Facebook was like a class reunion. It’s the ideal place to look up and even hook up with old classmates without feeling we need to lose 20 pounds first.
Facebook has been used to do a lot of good, too. There continues to be campaigns aimed at raising money and awareness for charities and good causes. Anti-bullying, autism, breast cancer, as well as personal projects that hit closer to home like memorials for loved ones and classmates, have all benefited from Facebook fundraising.
There are also some campaigns that are just meant to make us feel good, like #FreshFace that urges women to post photos make-up free and #ThrowbackThursdays that allows us to share those nostalgic moments. There’s nothing funnier than seeing teenagers throwback to 2009.
But then there are plenty of examples of people behaving badly on FB too. There are entire sites dedicated to embarrassing Facebook posts…and most of them probably led to terminations, break ups, family banishment or all three.
Personally, I’d like to see more African Americans, in particular, begin taking their Facebook engagement to the next level.
If you aren’t yet using Facebook to network, develop clients and promote your products and services, you’re missing out.
You’d be amazed at the contacts you can make by consistently getting your message out there. Sort of the same way a lot of people use Starbucks, Facebook is a comfortable spot for hanging out, visiting, connecting and doing business.
Like many of you, I’ve grown right along with Facebook in the last 10 years. I’ve gone from casually posting to strategically utilizing Facebook to boost all my relationships, business, family and friends.
Don’t stay still. Facebook has opened up doors and imaginations and it’s all ours for the taking.
And in keeping with the 10-year-celebration, here are 10 Facebook thoughts I’d like to share:
1. There’s an edit button! No more excuses for misspelling words and names.
2. You might not need to be Facebook friends with your pastor.
3. Most people don’t want to play Farmtown with you.
4. Keep sending inspirational words and Bible quotes. You never know how they will bless someone.
5. You don’t look like you looked in 1987. Remember that when trying to hook up with your high school crush.
6. If it doesn’t concern any one except you and the person you’re posting to, send a message. It will appear in their inbox.
7. Candy Crush really is an addiction. Get help.
8. Un-friend people who make racist, homophobic are incredibly distasteful comments unless these are really the kinds of friends you have.
10. Facebook is not a substitute for human contact. Just because you see your baby niece’s photos daily, she needs a big hug from you too.
Happy Birthday Facebook! Thanks for the memories.