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Open Letter to Facebook

Wednesday, 02 September 2015 00:00  by Yolanda F.

I feel an open apology coming on, one I’ve not had a chance to post just yet.

Dear Facebook,

There was a time when I called you by a derogatory name that involved another body part almost opposite of the face. You know which one I mean. I took that three-letter word and slapped it in front of the word ‘book’ and gave you a new name that I thought suited you better. It turns out I was out of line and I’m sorry and hope you can find some hyperlink of forgiveness. Though I still have some gripes, I must admit, I’ve recently discovered some especially useful aspects of your existence in my life.

But first, let me explain why I talked trash about you in the first place. You can probably guess what I didn’t LIKE about you before I discovered many more things I do actually like. I mean as in, Thumbs up, click!

I didn’t appreciate people who used their posting privileges to yell at other people, if only virtually, when they should have been yelling face-to-face as opposed to post-to-post. But I also understand that sometimes people can’t get to each other because they lack the space or courage.

I also didn’t and still don’t love all the political talk and bashing, nor do I LIKE the cryptic posts that intrigue me, leaving me high and dry wondering, What’s really going on between these people? I also don’t LIKE when people I’ve never met make unkind or clueless comments about my posts.

But it’s my own fault because in the beginning, when I was a Facebook newbie, I foolishly accepted any and all friend requests, which over the years has resulted in an enormous population of people whose posts clog up what I like to think of as the online magazine created by my family members and actual friends. Though it was an honest mistake, I own it and recently have gotten to work on solving it.

I recently discovered a way to very gently eliminate unsavory posts. That is, not to “unfriend” certain friends, which would send up red flags and sound alarms and cause widespread confusion and delay (not really, but perhaps close in some cases). I can now avoid that drama. All I have to do is “unfollow” offenders of my own very personal Facebook code. That way, they don’t feel it. In fact, they will still see my posts, unless of course, they do the same. At least I’ll never know.

Why the heck didn’t you tell me about this sooner, Facebook? It’s OK. I know how busy you are. I’m not the only one who enjoys you as a wonderful tool if used properly and respectfully. According to SearchEngineJournal.com, since your 2004 launch, 67 percent of Internet users are also Facebook users. For most people with a smartphone, you are often part of the furniture, the place where I like to kick back with my feet up and check out the news of the day.

I enjoy finding up-to-the-minute information about celebrity deaths, so I can channel my sadness and depression accordingly. I also enjoy the countless adorable animal videos and photos that have been known to eat up hours of my time I’ll never get back. However, according to a recent amendment to my personal Facebook code, any video regardless of content that inspires laughter, especially laughter that lasts longer than 5 seconds, is time well-spent. I consider it part of my living-in-the-moment mental health and medical care plan.

I thoroughly appreciate my new-found connections to pages like The Huff Post, Elephantjournal.com and Mind Body Green, where I’ve read about everything from how to control my anxiety without prescription drugs and thereby avoiding the threat of prescription drug addiction (which terrifies me), to why no one should be on a raw diet.

I also have a page called Groovy Beach House, where I display and sell my artwork without a stitch of overhead. Thanks so much for that!

I also post my blogs for Brookhaven Retreat, a private mental health facility for women in Tennessee. I write about a variety of topics involving many different aspects of living, such as how to elevate your mood, exercise mindfulness, and stay sober, both literally and metaphorically.

Truly, Facebook, it is a pleasure doing business with you. But I know nothing is perfect and that you mean well. Some bad news I learned about is the fact that millions of dollars are made by people who post scams on Facebook. But I’m choosing to have faith that you’re in the process of creating some filter to avoid this in the future. In the meantime, I know I have to be smart and can’t believe everything I read.

One last thing that I truly appreciate about you, Facebook, and that’s the opportunity for bereavement. I think of you as a virtual graveyard where I can enjoy a more meaningful visit than I’d get at a gravesite with a headstone and some flowers. I can look at pictures, see who else has visited and left their own memories and thoughts behind. I can meditate on that person and wish them well. No need to post, though sometimes I do if I think it may help other friends who feel the loss.

How odd, yet almost mysteriously comforting that I can soothe my ache simply because their surviving family members have not taken down their pages. If you can, Facebook, please thank them for me.

All the best,
Your Friend and loyal Follower

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