I joined Facebook on September 10, 2008 at the behest of my son Natan, who’d been bugging me to do so for ages. Soon, it was if I’d never NOT been on Facebook. Now, today, Facebook is ten years old, which means I’ve been in a relationship with Facebook for half its life. This is longer than some marriages have lasted.
I’ve stayed with Facebook through the “Varda is” status update phase. I’ve hung in there through changes to the news feed display, privacy changes that left me exposed and open to the world with no notice, and sudden random charges for only some people for the privilege of sending FB messages to not-yet-Facebook-befriended old friends.
It’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. Finding childhood playmates and meeting up with them IN PERSON after an over three-decade hiatus, thanks to Facebook. Coming across people who done me wrong in the past and finding out they haven’t changed. Class reunions. Death notices. Breakups. Makeups.
Like the proverbial drowning man, Facebook lets us see our lives passing by, just by scrolling through our timelines. It’s all there: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Just like life itself.
Many of us almost came to blows during the recent U.S. presidential election. Some friends unfriended me while people who formerly professed undying love for me blocked me. During a war here in Israel, as I came out of my bomb shelter, I cursed the friends who posted cat memes while failing to ask after my well-being.
As Facebook evolves, so do I. What began as a way to to connect to old friends became something else after I’d found them all and there were no more of them left to find. I moved on to bucket lists and reading lists, breast cancer riddles, and now, pro-Israel politics. That began the day after my 48th birthday—when the Mavi Marmara flotilla attempted to breach Israel’s legal maritime blockade and the world painted a picture so ghastly wrong I was impelled to act on my country’s behalf.
I’ve learned how to wiggle out of Facebook friendships that leave me reeling or uncomfortable. I’ve learned to sniff out people I’d be best off not befriending. I’ve learned to go for engagement over quantity when it comes to friends. I’ve learned to be careful about what I will and won’t share.
I’ve learned to be hip and talk about my hate for “MZ” which is way cooler than saying “Mark Zuckerberg.” I have learned that Facebook has manipulated its report form so the Jew-haters can keep their F*$k Israel pages. I have tolerated those who love to hate Facebook, posting every nasty article on the subject they can find (on Facebook).
I, on the other hand, am not at all ashamed to say just how much I care about having Facebook in my life. It’s you, Facebook, that comes between me and loneliness in a big scary world from my isolated virtual office in my home. I’d never want to go back to the way things were, in the years BMZ, before you were born. I will keep you warts and all.
Make a wish.