Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 23: My Facebook Family

I feel a Technology Trip Down Memory Lane coming on here...for having lived across four decades and watching how spectacularly the technology has changed and become a part of our daily lives, I feel like I could go on and on about this subject.  I work in an office of relatively young tech folks, many of whom are in their 20s.  That means that, on average, most of them were born in (gasp) 1985!!!  This was one year before I graduated high school.  They would never have seen rotary-dial telephones, black & white televisions, 8-track tapes.  They would only have purchased cds, wouldn't have blinked at owning a cell phone (when they were old enough) or a personal computer.

We were relatively bold when it came to technology in the early 90s.  We were given our first computer, an old word processor, by my mother when she was done with it.  It did little more than process words (but oh, what I would have given to have been able to use that to write papers in college!!), but it did come with two very, very basic and highly-pixelated games loaded on it - Jeopardy and Strip Poker.  Both games were amusing, and revolutionary to us, as simplistic as they were.  The day that Steve beat the machine at Strip Poker, it packed itself in and crashed, presumably in anger at having been bested.  So we bought our first new computer, loaded with all of the most amazing, free (and not so free)-time-sucking functions, including AOL.  Social networking here we come!! 

So, in point with my post title, while we picked up on technology relatively late age-wise, I am so grateful for having been a part of the internet revolution, and the rise of the social network in the time before Samantha was born.  I may have posted this before, but I truly don't know how we would have found the information and contacts that we rely so heavily on if Samantha had been born in 1991, when Steve and I got married.  Having a child with Down syndrome, or any disability or health issue, would have been a truly isolating experience without the ability to sit down in front of a keyboard and type in a few easy keywords to find the answers we sought. 

Which brings me to my Facebook Family.  Some people I know really don't get Facebook.  They don't see the value in it, or the need for it.  Like my father, for instance.  Not like he's part of a lost generation, because he isn't.  He's a technology-savvy as the rest of us (mostly), but thinks Facebook, a world full of strangers interacting and learning about you, is a pretty dodgy (that's, ummm, dicey (?) in Americanspeak - one of those Britishisms that I've always found much more suited to the point that I'm trying to convey than any other English or American term) place.  Why would I let these people into my life, why would I call them "friends?"  And he's right about one point, if you want to get technical...most of them are not my friends.  Actually, I may not have ever had any interaction at all with them, but the Facebook term is "friend," so that's the term I use to describe them.  Another reason people don't "get" Facebook is that they think they'll have to read and respond to everyone's status updates.  This is sooooooo not true.  While, to someone that only has 50 Facebook "friends," it looks like I am constantly babbling (drowning out the silence from many of the others), to someone that has 1,000, I'm just a measly drop in the pan, probably lost in the sea of chatter.  And that's fine!  Just knowing that people are there when you need them is the joy of Facebook.

And need them, we do.  Whether it's to bounce ideas off of when there's an issue (school issues, health issues, behavior issues), having others to celebrate the milestones, or soliciting ideas (for developmental toys, birthday presents, even what to make for dinner!), my Facebook Friends have been there for me, and I for them.

I posted a status update late lastnight, lamenting the fact that I didn't have anything to write about today in my quest to fulfill 31 for 21 this month.  I got more than a dozen replies, all with amazing ideas!  And some of the bloggers that were reading those ideas were also inspired by them.  And that, folks, in itself, was blog fodder.  I think I am now better prepared for some future posts, and I certainly found my subject for this one.

Thank you all (yes, all you strangers out there in Facebook Land) for being my "friends." 


RobMonroe said...

And sometimes, just sometimes, you end up becoming "real" friends with folks from Facebook. :o)

I have found great community around my health on Facebook, too. I know folks further along with their disease, so I can see what sort of things I *might* experience (and might not, of course). Better for me is that I have found how to articulate better the things about me that matter, especially in the kidney-disease community.

Debbie @ Three Weddings said...

Don't forget Atari! I'm with you about Facebook. Even though my mom and sister are on it, they don't really get it and why I'm as active as I am. Not only is it great for the Ds community, but it just gives me a creative outlet that I didn't have. I've met some amazing people (present company included) and cherish those connections.

Fortunately, however, we have an amazing support group in our area so a lot of my personal support is local when it comes to Ds, but it is wonderful to have that additional level with Facebook.

heather said...

You're close to my age. I graduated in '89. It's always nice to know there are others out there close to my age and experiences. I do consider you a friend. I have a lot of DS Fb friends and honestly I don't know who many of them are, but you I do know and like to follow. :)

Cathy said...

Hi Facebook friend! I don't know what I would do without all my FB/bloggy friends. I've met many of them IRL and hope to meet many more.

I'm going to have to go look at that post on FB...I'm out of ideas!!

Stephanie said...

I love my FB "friends"

Melissa M said...

I am totally and completely in love with my FB/bloggy friends, and count't make it without them!!