“Listen, Bob. A gun is just a tool. No better and no worse than any other tool, a shovel- or an axe or a saddle or a stove or anything. Think of it always that way. A gun is as good- and as bad- as the man who carries it. Remember that.”
Facebook, for me, is exactly the same. It’s a tool. There have been many valid arguments against Facebook. It has the potential for evil. It connects groups of people who share the same small minded, often ignorant or dangerous, views of the world.
“The problem… is that there is nothing special about humans in this information system. Every data point is treated equally, irrespective of how humans experience it. “Jew haters” is just as much an ad category as “Moms who jog.” It’s all data. If Group A has a bigger presence on Facebook than Group B, so be it, even if Group A is trying to demean or organize violence against the Bs. Of course, the reality is that humans are all different, and cannot be reduced to data.” –
I recognize its potential for abuse. But I also recognize its potential to be a life changing force for those of us who fear actual human contact. And by no means are we the only group for whom Facebook is a significant benefit. It helps those who want to launch careers. It helps those who write. It helps those who want to share ideas.
For me, Facebook has been the difference between complete social isolation and a feeling of being connected with the world at large. I’ve reconnected with friends I haven’t seen in decades. I’ve found people who share my interests and political views. I’ve encountered ideas I would never have considered in any other way. I’ve been able to get the help I’ve needed when I have had the courage to put my shame aside and ask for it. I’ve found Love, and, being Fred, plenty of rejection.
But it has made me into someone I wouldn’t have been otherwise. It’s changed me for the better. It’s saved my car, kept me from homelessness, and sent me to a Phil Collins concert. It even made it possible for me to meet one of my greatest heroes, who happened to be playing Facebook poker at the same time I was. I’ve become actual friends with him because of Facebook. And because of him, I found more music, more friends, and more acceptance.
I’m accepted in a world over which I have more control. I have a larger audience than I’ve ever had before for my ideas, my passions, my writing, and my creative endeavors. I feel safe, confident, and respected. On Facebook, I’ve been able to celebrate my successes, mourn my losses and failures, and support causes and people that are important to me.
It’s more than just pictures of Cats. (Although, of late, I’ve even begun participating in that. When Cats love you, they change you.) It’s a safe window into the world. It’s a door that can be opened and closed as necessary. It’s a tool… no better or worse than the people using it. I surround myself with the best people I can find. That makes Facebook, for me, the best tool I have.