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September 28, 2009

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If it's sick, then I'm really infected. Now, if you're looking for a sense of being on Facebook, yeah, that's a recipe for sickness. But if you're USING Facebook for the purpose of connecting with family and friends, I don't see anything sick about that.

Well, that's part of the issue though, Eileen. As writers, connecting with people through broadcast communication IS a huge part of our sense of being. Was I "connecting" when I put the motorcycle video out there? No, I was kind of broadcasting. Wasn't I?

Well yeah, but, yeah, I guess I post my columns on there too. But I have tried to keep Twitter for professional/broadcasting and Facebook for more personal. But you're right...the line gets blurred sometimes.

Facebook, for me, is more like the annual Christmas letters, except you get updates along the way: photos, videos, invitations to join things, like a book group or a bonfire. It has a lot of goofy stuff, too (what IS Farmville or whatever it's called?), but is that any more goofy than me inviting anybody who shows the least interest to come over for our Saturday night dealer's-choice poker game?

I was laid off from my job two weeks ago, something that has never happened to me before in my 40+ years of work. It's disconcerting and scary. But every day I go check in Facebook, and see that people I care about are going on as usual, sharing joys and woes, news that gets them on their bandstand, random thoughts. And it's so reassuring. It's like being a little kid in Michigan again, when all the aunts and great-aunts would share coffee and cookies and chatter, and the men would gather in the barn for a beer and to complain about the weather or crops or to brag about that milk-producing cow. It's homey. It's like having family, regular family, not 2009 family.

I like reading about your journeys, watching your videos, knowing that you captured your child and headed into an adventure. I don't have a whole lot of "important" people on my friend list--at least, they aren't there because they're important; I am blessed with a few friends who wander into the limelight now and then.

But they're first and foremost my friends. They've encouraged me, publicly and privately, and I feel more supported and connected than I have for years. Facebook, of all the social media tools, is the one that is the most personal, and the only one I cherish.

So there's the view of my little world in the golden autumn of Knik.

Joan, first, I'm very sorry to hear about your job. But it really informs the sentiment you express here. I too have found Facebook comforting during the recession. Reassuring to see unemployed friends putting one foot cheerfully in front of another (and enjoying a beer or a ballgame or a book along the way), and of course happy to see news when they inevitably got jobs. (As you will, of course.)

In such times, I do think Facebook makes us feel less alone--whatever else it does to make us feel and behave like amateur celebrities, or various ways that may appear sick and confusing to another generation.

You would not have gotten me to say that a year ago. But I say it with confidence now.

Enjoy this golden autumn, Joan. Summer will come again. And we'll be here in the meantime.

The sun rising every morning is no indicator that the world continues its run as usual. Grumpy old men tell us everything is normal, proceed as usual.

Just had this fight with Kate only a couple of days ago. "You used to bike. You used to read. Now all you do is diddle on your computer. Why is it so important to tell a bunch of people you hardly know what you're doing or where you are?"

Didn't have an easy answer. But I get the same kind of comfort from this stuff as you do, David. The world really is changing, and who knows right now if it's for the better?

Here's another reason. I follow this blog because I'm a communicator, and I knew that DM can write a bit. But because of this blog I now know that he groks motorcycle touring, and best of all, has the chops to write about it.

Steve Crescenzo's blog has "it" too, and come to think of it most good one do: they show you the person behind the words.

Consider boingboing.net and icanhascheezburger.com. They consistently reflect a certain point of view, and if that POV suits you, you'll bookmark or feedlink or subscribe or whatever.

And they never say "a decision was made to ..." or "it is recommended that ..."

p.s. Good luck Joan H; the corporates downsized me too.

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