Friday, October 29, 2010

Social Network Support

My brother has had Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome, a form of supraventricular tachycardia (irregular, fast heart rate) for 30+ years; he has been able to control the condition with medication, and has lived an active lifestyle with pretty great health.  This past weekend, the meds stopped working, and he was transported to a WVU-Ruby Memorial for abrasion treatment, which "zapped" the extra "abnormal" pathway. 5 days after being rushed to the ER, his heart is now beating normally for the first time in his life, he is resting at home, and his little sister is breathing a major sigh of relief.  Thankfully, family members and friends were there to keep him company when things were scary and uncomfortable during the hospital stay.   

Facebook made things so much easier.  A virtual world that most have given in to but some, unfortunately, still view as a shady place for creepers and weirdos, enabled me to keep in contact with my brother, my friends, his friends, and the rest of my family so easily.  We could keep tabs on each other at all times of the day, and ensure that the correct information was getting out regarding his condition. Our friends and family were on the same page, they knew where to go to check up and see how he was doing, and the overwhelming amount of support was totally unbelievable. 

I'm finding that so many non-FB users are misinformed about the social network; contrary to their belief(s), it can be a positive environment where people can easily communicate with one another with a few clicks of the mouse, or a few taps on a smartphone.  I've heard non-users say, "who cares what someone had for dinner?", "why would you want to tell everyone when you're going to the restroom?", and, "why would I want all of my personal information all over the internet?"  My answers to the questions are as follows: I WANT to know what people are having for dinner because it just might give this horrid cook some new ideas, I have yet to actually see someone post when they're taking a #2, and users can easily control the privacy settings of their "personal information".  If someone's taking a potty break, I'm definitely "liking" that status update.

If you feel that Facebook isn't the site for you, fine.  If you've encountered a nasty situation while on Facebook and it influenced you to ditch the site, totally understandable. If you're dissing the monstrous social network but have never, ever logged in to it or researched it, please... stay away from me!  Facebook can be good.  There are negative aspects of it (I've been involved in and have even instigated a "Facebook Fight" or two), but there are positives, too.  You have to learn how to use it in a way that best suits your needs and wants.  I need to let my Facebook friends know what I'm doing, how I'm feeling, what I'm reading, where I'm shopping, and how much chocolate I'm eating. Why? I'm just a social media whore.  I want to know what my friends are doing, how they're feeling, what they're reading, where they're shopping, and how much chocolate they're eating, too. I'm interested in their lives - call me queen nosey.

I needed to know how my brother was feeling this week.  I wanted him to know that while i was three hours away from the hospital and could only be there Sunday and Wednesday, I was easy to find and communicate with.  I needed to know that my mom was handling everything OK, and I wanted to keep her company when she was at the hospital, worried about her son.  She needed to know that I was there for her to talk to, and she wanted to keep her entire church family informed of how things were progressing. Through a series of Facebook private messages, status updates, and comments, all of this was possible - and easy - and quiet - and effective. 

The night before my brother was rushed to the ER, my husband and I watched The Social Network.  I know the story was Hollywood-ed to death, but still - it was inspiring.  I am a Facebook user. I'm proud of that, and I would defend the site to no end. I understand that there are negative consequences to using Facebook irresponsibly or carelessly, but I also know that there are numerous benefits to being a registered user as well.

End rant. Enter... Happy Weekend
Have a good one, sweethearts! And please - find me on facebook and send a friend request. I promise to fill you in on the type of m&ms I'm eating each and every day. 

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Rebekah said...

I love social networks, mainly because it helps me stay connected to everyone back home while I'm over 1700 miles away!

I want to see The Social Network!

Amanda said...

I loved that movie and I love facebook. It gives me the opportunity to see pics of my god-child that lives out of state, talk to my relatives on a regular basis and stalk old boyfriends (jk, well maybe a little). My boyfriend at first hated it, but now he is on there just as much as me!

Really loved this post!

Ashley said...

I love Facebook! I don't post as much as I used to since I blog, but I am definitely on it several times a day keeping up with everyone else! I'm gonna go send you a friend request right now! :) And please let me know how much chocolate you're eating! :)

Random Musings Of My Life said...

I LOVE facebook. Love.
I am 3000 miles away from all of my family and friends, my mother often jokes that she would not know whats going on in anyones life if it was not for facebook.

With 5 kids strewn all over the US and Canada its the BEST way to keep in touch.. NOT to mention the pictures.. My best friend is having a baby and facebook allows me to be there with all the pictures my heart desires!

Kelley said...

You are absolutely right!! I am glad to know your brother is doing better. :)

BTW, you totally guessed my truth correctly. Mount up!!! I linked to you in my blog today. :)

Kerri said...

Glad your brother is doing well!
I too love fb....I have lived all of my adult life 8hrs from my friends and family...and being able to check up on everyone and post notes for all to see makes me feel a teeny bit more connected to them.
I haven't seen the movie yet...but I want to! Great post Steph!

Aimee said...

Beautifully written and I 100% agree. I am going to go find you on facebook right after I am done with this comment.

I am glad your brother is doing much better and I hope things improve and that his heart continues to work fine on its own. I am glad that facebook gave you the opportunity an peace of mind to communicate with him and your family even if you weren't able to be there in spirit. I love facebook because I have loved ones all over te US and I may not get to see them often but at least I can keep up with their lives and know when they are having a good day or a bad day. I like that I can offer others support and I like that I can post my mood or a question on facebook and get instant answers, support, and advice. Facebook and other ways of social networking is really important.

I really want to watch Social Network since I have heard a lot of good things about it.

I have also experienced a few "facebook fights" and even lost a bloggy friend over one of my statuses (or really an argument over my statuses-damn sports!) but the pros outweigh the cons by far.

:)Ill send good thoughts to you and your family.. Looking forward to being facebook friends :)

Faith said...

i have yet to see that movie. i really want to see it but then the weekends escape me....ahhh.

glad your brother is doing well!

have a beautiful weekend!

Diana said...

LOVE this post and will (with your permission) refer others to it who do nothing but complain about how "BAD" it is. I agree 100% with your view and share it as mine. I have my setting so only Friends (not even friends of friends) can view photos, info or wall posts. But those I choose to call friends are those I want to know what is going on with them and whom I will share what I am having for dinner tonight, lunch tomorrow or the book I'm reading on my Pandigital eReader while soaking in a hot bubble bath!


Crazy Shenanigans-JMO said...

I'm glad he's ok and that facebook helped you out!

Amber said...

This is awesome! I agree, I'm addicted to FB. Like you said, it can get ridiculous, but it's needed and has came in handy for people to stay in touch and see what's REALLY going on.. the things that matter!

Brittany Ann said...

I couldn't agree more! When social networking works well, it's a lifesaver and a sanity saver!

Miranda said...

I saw your post about him on Facebook. I'm SO glad he's doing better, girl! :-)

I seriously could NOT live without facebook. It keeps me connected to friends and family back home and all over the globe :-) I love it!