|be connected | March/April 2016
It's a small world after all:
Using Facebook to reconnect
by Heather Hollermann
Scrolling through the infinite feed of restaurant check-ins, relationship status updates, and selfie posts, Facebook provides a unique way to keep track of what your friends and family members are doing. Within minutes, you're able to find out which friends are dating, married, or divorced; what foods were consumed where; who dyed, cut, or changed their hair; and a load of other tidbits. At first glance, this obsession with posting details of our lives online might seem insane and impersonal. However, with the emergence of social media outlets like Facebook, you are able to maintain and rejuvenate relationships in a way that wasn't possible a few decades ago. Let's take a look at four ways that Facebook can help you reconnect with others.
Meeting up with old friends
Perhaps one of the saddest parts about growing up is the loss of childhood friends. While you will always carry fond memories of building forts, riding bikes, and playing capture the flag, many of your former playmates fall by the wayside over the years. Trying to maintain childhood friendships can be a lot of work and, until recently, staying connected and even reconnecting with childhood friends was incredibly difficult. However, the emergence of Facebook has completely altered this.
Shelley Sicard, age 50, explains that, before Facebook, she had completely lost touch with some of her childhood friends. "When my friend Tammy moved out of state, her kids were little, my kids were little. We didn't have time to try and keep in touch. Everything was going on around us. We didn't have time to talk," she explains. "But then I got Facebook, she found me, and we were finally able to get in touch."
Getting together with the gang
Everyone hopes to stay close in the years that follow high school graduation. We write sentiments like "Best Friends Forever" and "Stay in touch" in one another's yearbooks, yet with the constant curveballs life throws our way, many of these wishes become merely that -- wishes.
Or at least they did. With tools like Facebook in their pocket, people have found creative ways to reconnect with high school classmates and friends. "Someone made a Facebook page for my high school," Sicard explains. "If someone finds an old picture, they will post it. They will post about wakes or funerals for classmates who have passed away. Sometimes someone will post something like 'Class of '83, I am trying to find so and so,' and people will respond."
Keeping up with the family
Keeping up with family gossip has never been easier. Rather than relying on word of mouth to get the scoop on what family members are up to, Facebook allows near instant access to the latest dish. "My mom is contemplating getting Facebook," Sicard says of her mother Diane, 70. "She gets really annoyed that she is the last person to find out anything about what's going on with the family."
Family gossip is no longer a real life game of telephone. Thanks to Facebook, it's been streamlined. It has never been easier to stay in touch with extended family members.
"My half-sister lives out in Pennsylvania," Sicard explains. "We hardly ever get to see her. Whenever she is in town, she posts on Facebook and we are able to at least try and get together." Without using Facebook, Sicard claims she would not be as close with her half sister. Because they're able to connect online, they are able to learn more about each other and what's going on in their lives simply by scrolling through their posts.
Reconnect with Yourself
While reconnecting with those from your past is important, it is also important to reconnect with yourself from time to time. As an adult, it's easy to be consumed by a busy schedule, bills, family, responsibility and stress.
It's easy to forget that life is a playground. Taking some time -- whether it's five minutes or five hours -- to reconnect with yourself is essential. Among all of the status updates, friend requests, and shared posts on Facebook's newsfeed, there are also articles to read, games to play and quizzes to take.
So, whether you're logging in to post, browse, or play, reconnecting with yourself, friends and family has never been easier. And once you've mastered the art of reconnecting on Facebook, you can always experiment with other forms of social media like Instagram or Twitter.
Heather Hollermann is a freelance writer focused on creativity and personal style. When she isn't working on her novel, Heather can be found reading, shopping, traveling, and binge-watching television series. She is a lover of history, dark lipstick, and baked goods.