About a year ago I saw on my blog's analytics that someone accessed Creature Bug from a Facebook account.
I didn't have a Facebook account because...I didn't want to. I never did MySpace, I still don't Twitter, I rarely even send text messages from my phone (thanks in part to not having free texts). I'm techno-savvy, but I blog, and that seemed to be enough.
But then there was that mysterious Facebook link. I was curious so I clicked on the link, which took me to the page to open a Facebook account. I dutifully did so, and then once that was done, I still couldn't figure out who had linked me because--and if you're on Facebook, you'll understand this--I didn't have any friends. So I couldn't figure out where the link came from.
(For the non-Facebooker, "friends" are your personal contacts. When you first join, you have to click around finding people you know, asking them if they want to be your friend.)
So, the account was open and then that was all I did for awhile. I figured (correctly) that a lot of my former students (from teaching high school and college) were on Facebook, but I wasn't going to be asking most of them if they wanted to be friends. That was just too weird. Even if they were all adults, many of them with children, and only a few years younger than me.
Slowly, though, people found me and asked if I wanted to be friends. My sister. My brother. My sister-in-law in Rhode Island. My good friend Devon. Eventually I figured out how to find old high school classmates. Then there were my MOPS friends. And my friends from the summer I went on a missions trip to Romania. And then lots and lots of old students found me and didn't think it was weird at all to be friends.
I became friends with blog friends whom I'd never met in real life.
I became friends with my dad (who doesn't update ever, but likes to see what we post).
I became friends with my father-in-law.
I became friends with my sister's roommate (which came in handy when she helped me pull off the surprise trip to Colorado).
A couple weeks ago, I ran into someone I went to school with years and years ago. Now we're friends on Facebook. She's having twins, and I saw the ultrasound pictures. How about that.
I became friends with my best friend from high school whom I hadn't spoken to in years. In the past week, I've seen her 3 times, talked with her on the phone, taken pictures of her daughter. It's...unbelievable. It's a story that's waiting to be told.
Last week I became friends with my uncle who's more than 70 years old. And tonight? Friends with my cousin and her husband. Who are also my neighbors. We can just yell our status updates out the window at each other if our Internet stops working.
While I'm definitely not a hard core Facebooker--I don't do the quizzes/poking/notes/games/virtual pet/become friends with celebrities thing--it has been a blast connecting and reconnecting with people from my life.
For me, it's a different kind of feeling than blogging. It's life in 150 characters. Discovering what someone is doing or feeling at a fixed point in time. Connecting in a context that's more in-the-moment. Creating a network of people who all know me and I know them, which I think is one of the key differences from blogging, where I do a lot of writing to an unknown audience. I've even learned to love Facebook comments as much as I love blog comments (which I do, by the way, in case you were wondering...).
I never thought I'd say it, but the realization came to me last week: I ♥ Facebook. It was a conversion a year in the making, but totally worth it.