Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Thoughts on Facebook

As my facebook friend John Pierce put it, "facebook has done something important and significant, especially for those of us playing the back nine of life.  It has reconnected us to family and friends in ways never imagined."  I would say further, it has exposed us, our attitudes, values, opinions, and beliefs to a wide and varied world.  Our intellectual horizons and access to information have greatly expanded and been enhanced by virtue of facebook and it's numerous posts and links.

Think of what my facebook feed looks like in the mornings.  Like many of you, I have friends who are very liberal, very conservative, Christian, non-Christian, atheist, evangelical, Republican, Democrat, apolitical, and sports fanatics.  I have friends who live in the Far-East, in America, and in Europe.  I have friends who are college professors, newspaper editors and journalists, pastors, rabbis, state senators and representatives, political pundits, authors, doctors, lawyers, school teachers, even a cool PA announcer/DJ.

I have one friend who is Chairman, Global Markets - China, for JP Morgan.  She lives in China and posts pictures of the view from her window in her Hong Kong high rise office building.  She posts pictures and other items of interest from all around Southeast Asia.

I have a friend who is a retired photojournalist.  He took the picture of Robert Kennedy just after he was shot in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles in 1968 that quickly sped around the world.  He took to famous picture of Richard Nixon as he boarded the helicopter leaving the White House grounds for the last time.  He sells photos off a site linked to his facebook page.

I have the mayor as a friend, church friends, dear friends from elementary school, friends from college, friends from high school, professional friends from my work.  I have a friend from high school who was a great football player and later owned a number of textile firms in the states. Amazingly, for the past 10 years he has lived in Vietnam and headed up an international aid foundation based in old Saigon. He posts wonderful information and photographs from Vietnam.

Recently, I posted a public policy chart and graph with some accompanying comments of my own.  That post got over 55 "shares" to other facebook pages in the first 4 or 5 hours.  One of those pages had 46 "shares" of it's own of that post.  The opportunity to share information, personal analysis of information, with multitudes of people, is staggering.  The opportunity for us to impact the thoughts and views of others is astounding.

One of the joys of facebook has been the development of new friends which has resulted from mutual friendships, similar values and interests, and common roots.  I met a dentist who has a dental mission in Haiti and one in the Dominican Republic (we attended a college football game together with our wives after becoming good fb friends).  He is a great liberal Democrat and an avid Yankees fan.  I met and had lunch with an author and lecturer on Southern History, a seminary graduate who is a great liberal and family man, and a university political science professor. John Pierce, referenced in the first paragraph, a pastor and Executive Editor of "Baptist Today", came to Greensboro and attended a minor league baseball game with me.  He is an avid Braves season ticket holder, a wonderful blogger, and through common friends and interests, we met on facebook. 

God created us to live in "community" with one another.  Facebook so greatly enhances that opportunity.  Sharing our values with the world is equally important.  Staying in touch with those who have impacted our lives and those we care about is critical.  Facebook is a great tool for all of this. 

There likely are kids working on the next generation of facebook and social media in their garage as we speak.  I eagerly await their new version, the next level of communications.  In the meantime, I will link my thoughts and my blog about facebook.........to my facebook page.

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