Today I am thankful for Facebook. Yes, it's true, there is a tendency to get sucked in and it can be a place to waste hours every day if you're not careful. Sometimes I get annoyed at what I see there because there is so much tendency for untrue or ignorant things to be spread. On the other hand, you do control your own friend list and activity so if it's bugging you too much, you can just make a change. In the end, for me, the benefits far outweigh the bad stuff.
On Facebook, I get to see photos of my little, wonderful niece Nora. They live about 7 hours from us, though they travel to Seattle often (at least 1-2 weekends per month), and I don't get to see them as much as I'd like. I wish their
farm was in Whatcom County and we could spend our weekends there letting the kids play and run outside. But, it's not. My sister's not a big technology person, but she DOES run the Facebook page for their business, Olsen Farms. And Nora has become somewhat of a little mascot for them! They are such a family company, how could you resist buying meat and potatoes from them? And shoulder bacon. It's SO DELICIOUS. And because Facebook is relevant in marketing, I get to see photos like this one of Nora and Brent on Halloween that I would never have otherwise seen.
I have gotten back in touch with my best friend from fourth and fifth grade who lives back in Michigan, and I absolutely love seeing her updates and pictures of her kids. We had a special bond, and I love that we can be friends again. I get to see photos of my Grandmother who has Alzheimers, and who realistically with our financial situation, I can't say for sure if I'll ever get to see her again in person because my Aunt shares the photos.
I have built communities there too that I just wouldn't be able to participate in "in real life". With working full time and my commute and having 2 kids and errands and teaching classes, and not much money, I can't attend blog conferences, or birth related workshops, or chat with other parents at the park after school anymore.
Through my blogging, and connecting with other bloggers whose blogs I read, I have made friends on Facebook that I never would have gotten to know in real life. I don't always talk to them a ton, but they make me really happy. One of them is in Bellingham, and we have actually met and she helped me out with some issues I was having with my template on the Born in Bellingham site.
I have my wonderful communities related to birth, and have been able to get familiar with people in my local birth community as well as having a wonderful community of Birth Boot Camp instructors and board members who I communicate with and learn from on a daily basis. They are there for education, for support, and for celebrating our students with others who understand the passion for teaching this curriculum. Bellingham has its own birth community and I have gotten to know people through Facebook and our local professionals group and made connections that I couldn't have made without this networking tool. I have worked with some people promoting my class, supporting our clients or students, and working in the community.
I also have my parenting groups and local mom, wife, and women's groups. One of the things I miss most about being a stay at home mom is connecting and chatting with the other parents after school at the playground when the kids got off the bus, played, and ran around, and we got to talk. No, Facebook doesn't replace this. I still miss those moms and being part of my physical community near our home. But it's 100x better than no support or commiseration at all. I can get advice, I can help others with what I know, and some of it has lead to real life friends. Friends like my my co-worker Kali who works with me because I went out on a limb and gave her info to my boss when she needed an internship, and like the women in my wife/marriage support small group that meet every month or two to support each other and help however we can.
It's pretty amazing sometimes.