How important is Facebook to you?

by Daniel Sencier
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I think it’s the best thing that ever happened, but I’m comparing it to a time way back, when you had only real friends and the only way to keep them was to meet up and buy them a cup of tea occasionally. I’ve moved on so many times over the years that without Facebook, I guess I wouldn’t have any friends.

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Some friends on Facebook I’ve never met, yet I enjoy the interaction with them immensely. It’s helped me hook up with people who I knew as far back as childhood, and even though we don’t talk much after our initial contact, it’s nice to see them all still there. Same with old work and army colleagues, and people who I may have only met once on the other side of the world, without Facebook I would never have kept in touch.

It’s helped me to stay in touch with my kids and to see what’s going on in their lives, as none of us are geographically close anymore. Between Facebook Skype and WhatsApp, we have stayed fairly close and it’s just great! It would be nice to live closer to them all one day, especially as my 3 grandchildren grow up, but for now, we are where we are.

I worry about the ‘watchers’ on Facebook, those that are ‘friends’ but never comment or ‘like’ anything you put up. I’m also intrigued with people who feel they can’t use their real name, though my partner has a very good reason. She’s a head teacher, and all her staff and pupils would send her friends requests; perhaps a bridge too far.

Have you seen those who appear to be on Facebook all day? They live there; it’s a drug, it’s their version of the real world! I’m worried that I could end up in that place, so I’ve set myself rules that only allow me to access twice a day, morning and night; but of course, I cheat!

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People sometimes pour out their hearts on Facebook, looks embarrassing, but hey, it gives others a chance to jump in with support. I was sent a private message awhile back by someone who said, “It’s good to know you’re always there if I need to talk Daniel”, and we do, often. Others have been there for me at desperately bad times, so this can only be an amazing support, surely?

When you send someone a ‘Friends Request’ and they don’t acknowledge, how bad do you feel? Maybe you liked them, but they weren’t as keen on you. Don’t you wish there was an ‘unsend’ key? I didn’t really want to be your friend, I just felt sorry for you!

When someone ‘defriends’ you, are you devastated? Someone did that to me recently, just because we disagreed on something. I dared to have a different opinion and his macho image wouldn’t allow that! My favourite friends on Facebook are those who I can have a good debate with, without falling out. Be it politics, religion or lifestyle, let’s talk about it. I’ll try and understand why you’re happy killing animals for fun, or why believe that you go to heaven when you die!

When it’s your birthday, do you find yourself looking closely at who sent you well wishes? Not one member of my entire family or in laws acknowledged my birthday on Facebook last year. Should I worry that I’m not loved :-)? I always try to wish everyone a Happy Birthday, but I must miss more than I remember. I reckon if a handful of your ‘friends’ say happy birthday, you’ve done well. I laugh at people who have some 5,000 plus friends. In your dreams! I’ve got 271 and I’ve just counted 11 that I’ve never met; mainly people I’ve befriended on cancer support sites.

I love keeping up with all the political and wildlife groups on Facebook. You can also get a more balanced view of the news without the influence of the totally biased main channels, like the BBC, because there’s terrible stuff going on in the world right now that’s simply not reported. I can follow people who I like/admire and join lobbying groups such as ’38 degrees’ who can influence our government, because alone, we can’t. I’m even in a group called, ‘Babies born at Queen Charlotte’s Hospital’. Must say, I’m getting towards the far end of that maternity ward now! I love it, and though it gets technically more difficult by the day to browse the site, it saves me a fortune on both birthday and Christmas cards, even reminding me when your birthday is. If I’ve got news to tell, you’ll all get to hear at the same time. If you talk about things like cats, soaps or put photos of your grandchildren up all the time, I probably don’t follow you, so I don’t see you on my timeline, but it doesn’t mean I don’t like/love you! I never got into Twitter in the same way; I guess I never really understood it. But yes, Facebook does it for me, I’m glad it’s there and I wouldn’t be without it. As I travel the world, I can take you all with me, and we’ll never lose each other! Unless you ‘defriend’ me!

Daniel Sencier was born in London 1951, the son of Belgian/Irish parents who settled in England after the war. He spent his childhood being raised by his grandmother in the Republic of Ireland, before moving to go to school in England. He is married to Beverley, who is Head of an International School in Bangkok, and they have eight children between them.
After service in the military, aircraft and hotel industries, he retired to further his education at the University of Cumbria. He successfully completed a Bachelor’s Degree in Wildlife & Media, and qualified as an English teacher. Now in Bangkok Daniel is organiser of the ‘Bangkok English speakers lunch group’, encouraging others to improve their English and explore this wonderful city.

 

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