Sunday, February 24, 2013

Facebook: Friend or Foe?

I am a Facebook addict.  I have tried to "kick the habit" and even went off line for several days. And by several, I mean three. Okay, two and a half. Anyway, the point is that I still regularly log in, both on my computer and via my phone.  On my phone I tend to focus on alerts from close friends and updating my own status or uploading photos. On the computer, however, I find myself  scrolling through the newsfeed and refreshing constantly for new comments, notifications, any information that I can use as a distraction, and (guilty pleasure confession) playing games. I chastise myself for wasting time with it and yet I continue to incorporate it into my daily routine.

Over the past several years, my use of Facebook has evolved almost as much as its privacy policies.  At first, I almost exclusively reported that I was "working" or "should be working but playing Farmville instead." Since then, after  a combination of deeper psychological probing ("what's on your mind?"), an exponential increase in my number of associates ("friends") and family drama, I decided to incorporate a greater purpose to my contributions to the site.  For example, I started a page for my favorite Simmental cow Lisa, in which she posts periodic updates about life on the farm from her perspective. Writing for Lisa allows me to use Facebook as an educational tool to promote agriculture as well as practice to sharpen my writing skills.

Beyond my posts, I have connected with people from all areas of my life. As a result, I have been inspired and educated. For starters, several people have enlightened me to various weight loss tools or shared their personal journeys which I find motivating. I discovered My Fitness Pal through Facebook and I cheer on friends making healthy decisions for themselves through programs like Weight Watchers. I've also seen some neat agricultural promotions along with general quotes and sentiments that stimulate my mind. Occasionally professional information and job leads are available.

Bottom line: Facebook can be a foe but it can be a friend. It's all in how you use it, I guess.  In the grand scheme of things I may regret spending so much time on Bejeweled Blitz (even if I did torch it up for over a million points), but there are people who would not be in my life at all if it weren't for social networking. Besides enjoying those renewed friendships, I hope to continue to utilize it in the most positive and beneficial manner possible for both my weight loss struggle and agricultural advocacy, or "agvocacy".  Granted it would be a bit easier if everyone chose to be more positive in their posts but life is meant to be full of challenges, isn't it?

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