Word on the street is that a lot of people are "giving up Facebook" for their New Year's Resolution.
"Facebook is a vast, vortex-like, waste of time."
"Facebook is an addiction."
"Facebook is a community of voyeurism."
Sure. It can be. So can anything else in the entire world.
But I beg to differ, and I believe I will stand on this soapbox for the rest of my days.
When crisis struck my family, thousands of people knew - and dove in to help, serve, pray, and encourage - in a matter of hours. It was a humbling, gracious, overwhelming, and loving response. I will never forget it.
In the same way, a person in my extended family was in a house fire recently. She lost everything she owned, including her beloved pets, and she is hospitalized for the next many weeks while specialists treat the burns on her feet and in her lungs. In the meantime, Facebook is in action. Friends of friends of friends are collaborating to donate the necessities - and even some luxuries - of what it takes to rebuild a home, and a life.
As we speak, I belong to a growing campaign of people across the world who are joining together to help a beloved family with mounting medical expenses. In 24 hours, 400+ people committed to give from their resources, and the numbers grow.
Plus, at any given point, I can reach out and contact a person from my high school marching band, my college dorm, the neighborhood of my first home, my former students - dozens of children who can read because I taught them, the friend with whom I rollerskated after school and traded Babysitter's Club Books, friends from every city I've lived in, and authors whose work I covet, collect and study.
Don't tell me it's a waste of time.
Don't tell me my generation is a lost community that's tied to texting and virtual communication, which you may consider a poor substitute.
Don't tell me we are detached.
Sign on to FB. Several hundred people would like to tell you happy birthday, read the book you recommend, and join the cause you stand behind. And just think of all you can learn from them.
Facebook, I tip my virtual hat to you.