Maybe it's a sign of my age and stage but my friends and I sometimes talk about the pros and cons of Facebook. Many of my friends are enthusiastic adopters. Some take pride in not having an account. The discussion centres around the problems (over-sharing), the annoying (another selfie), the gross (pictures of animals being slaughtered, seriously?) and the banal (do we have to see what you ate for dinner). I agree that all of the above are challenges of the Facebook community.
There is a good side to Facebook. How about the friend who enthusiastically Likes my comments and photos. I really appreciate that little bit of affirmation in the middle of a challenging day.
What about when I posted the question "I'm going to the Yukon. What should I see/do?" and several people shared their suggestions and best moments? It felt great to get some help with planning and it was awesome to read about my friends' adventures. I had no idea that my friend Pam had hiked the Chilkoot Trail.
And it was awesome to have a university friend come to a seminar that I hosted this week. Thanks to Facebook Events, I was able to share the seminar with her and others in my network.
It feels good to share experiences, engage in discussion and stay in touch with far-away friends. Even chatting with a cousin who lives in the city means that when we see each other next, it's easy to pick up with conversation.
As with many things in life including ripple chips, red wine, and hot yoga, Facebook moderation is my rule. I don't want to overshare, overpost or overdebate, but used with care, Facebook can be a wonderful tool of connection.
Written by Heidi Reimer-Epp, co-founder and President of Botanical PaperWorks. This blog post originally appeared in Stationery Scoop under In Praise of Facebook. Check out the cool seed paper that her company manufactures.