Friday, September 26, 2014

In defense of Facebook

At dinner last night I was telling a friend how I found my new dog on Facebook and how involved I am in posting about lost and endangered dogs. Her reply was, "I just can't do it. I know there's good stuff, but I'd have to scroll through so much junk. I just don't have the patience for it." I also hear people complain about how FB keeps changing how they do things--I've noticed a few changes but nothing serious. So I'm here to say I really like Facebook a lot. I realize it's a time-suck, and I spend far too much time on it, especially late at night.
But for one thing FB is a place where I learn not only about my friends but about world events--it's often the first place I read breaking news because I'm not inclined to keep the TV on all day nor to check the news. I can't remember now which news but I think, for instance, it was the first place I read about the shooting of the young black man in Ferguson, Missouri. And it may well have been where I learned that we were sending air strikes against Syria. Yeah, it's not always good news and you have to be careful of sources, but it keeps me informed.
Facebook is where I've come to know a lot of people--some who share my political beliefs, many fellow mystery authors, a few random people I've met once or twice and then developed a FB friendship with. I've got a whole world of friends I wouldn't otherwise have.
On a purely practical note, Facebook gives me the perfect place to tell folks about my books--an important tool in my marketing plan--and to share my blog, which now attracts a goodly number of readers daily. When people say they can't do FB, I say it's a necessity for me to advance my writing.
Finally, it gives me a platform. Call me egotistic or whatever, but I like somewhere to push for causes that I care about. A big one is animal welfare, as you may have noticed. I post so many pictures of endangered animals, mostly dogs, that a good friend threatened to unfriend me because they made her so sad. I felt that way once and asked friend Kathy Edwards why she posted so many sad pictures. She replied she simply had to. Now I'm on her team. Proof of the pudding, a week ago I brought home a dog I'd seen on FB. When I saw that he had until eleven o'clock the next morning to live, I promptly went and got him. He has lots of needs--heartworms, neutering, and--most of all--love, and fitting him in with the dog who thinks she rules the roost is not fun. But we're making progress. There are so many pitiful creatures out there.
Finally, I have pretty strong liberal views, and I make no bones about it. I hope that won't stop anyone from buying my books--which do not push my political views. But when I see blatant lies and crude criticisms on FB, I find myself unable to keep quiet. I know, I know--lots of people say they don't discuss politics or religion. I think it's important to stand up for what you believe, and I keep remembering Nazi Germany where no one spoke out. So I voice my opinions, I criticize politicians I think deserve it, and I praise those I think deserve that. I've lost some friends over it, but strangely I've made some friends from the other side of the fence. I think we enjoy exchanging diverse opinions. I'll keep speaking out until November. I can't walk the block, can't donate heavily, but this is what I can do.
What to ask me about religion? I'll gladly be open about that. I'm a believer, a Christian who goes to church often but not regularly but makes God and prayer a central part of my life. My faith is essential to me. Somehow that's not as controversial as politics.
Yeah, I'm a fan of Facebook.

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