A few months ago, I connected with some of my high school friends on Facebook to plan our 30th reunion, and one of my classmates strongly encouraged me to fly the 2500 miles home to see my Notre Dame High classmates, even though I really did not think I was going to attend. To help make it a business trip, I reached out to some of my Bay Area real estate friends on Facebook to see if anyone wanted to hire me to do some social media training. I was offered two training sessions on setting up business pages on Facebook in Capitola. (This made it an easier sell to the hubby who would be responsible for the kids while I was away).
So, I flew out and was picked up by my friend, Cristina, who had been a good friend in high school, but had become a closer friend on Facebook. We talked for hours about life, love and social media. The next day we had a group of our fellow alumnae join us at her house for a reunion pre-party and we all agreed that the reason we were all gathered was because of Facebook. Gone were the nerves of wondering what our friends may look like after years of not seeing one another in person or not knowing where their lives may have led.
For the most part, we all had kept up with each other’s lives thanks to Facebook which got us talking more about what was going on now, than what had happened in the past. Pictures taken were all checked to make sure everyone wouldn’t mind them showing up on their pages and statements such as, “Don’t post that one” or “Are you going to tag me in that one?” were heard. Mind you, when we graduated in 1983, cell phones were not yet readily available to the public, let alone the world wide web. How far we all had come thanks to the wonder of technology and Mark Zuckerberg!
When we arrived at the reunion, we met up with other dear friends that also have connected with us on Facebook. Out of the 18 women that came to the event, only one was not in my network of friends on FB. As we were chatting, a digital photographer was taking pictures of us….but we all handed him our smart phones and asked if he would use those instead, so we could immediately post what we were doing to our timelines!
Hugs and promises of getting together more often were passed around and the feeling that we were not going to lose touch made the good byes easier, because we all knew we were only a moment away on an instant chat or a direct message. And the best part was that our friends who could not attend were there with us, as they checked in on the photos we were posting and commenting on. They were part of the action in real time.
The next day, a few of us went for a hike and Facebook came up so often, we noted it and had to laugh, as I was doing a handstand for my Facebook friends, or my Realtor friend, Cristina, was taking photos for her Facebook business page.
I then went to a birthday party where my friends asked that I not post the pictures of them on Facebook, as they disliked seeing photos of themselves on a newsfeed. Shouts of “Don’t post that!” were heard as I snapped pictures during the evening.
My friend, Sandra, hosted me at her home next. Conversation frequently turned to how could she effectively market her jewelry on Facebook, how she could leverage her contacts to help her grow her business and what was the best way to get more likes on her page. (This was interspersed with funny stories of past memories and experiences, as well, so it was not all social media!)
I then traveled to Capitola where I met a friend who has a special needs child. She said the constant support she receives from her friends on Facebook has helped her immeasurably. She has received resources, information and support right when she needed it, helping make the difficult, but rewarding work she does to help her daughter more bearable.
I then held two trainings at my friend Bonnie Cotta’s GuranteedRate Mortgage office on how to set up a Facebook business page for Realtors. We talked about privacy issues, creating lists, curating content and most importantly, we discussed the spirit of Facebook.
We talked about how Facebook helped bring people together, gave people an opportunity to support their friends when they needed it most due to death, illness and loss. We talked about how by giving recommendations and support to fellow business owners that the “love” came back two fold.
As I was leaving San Jose, I took a photo from the air and was able to post it to Facebook from about 10,000 feet. I thanked my friends for being there for me and for being part of my life although I live 2500 miles away on an island, which is the most isolated place on Earth. But, I am not isolated, thanks to Facebook. I get to share in my friend’s lives and plan events and make things happen. Several people told me that my posts inspire them and I know for a fact, my life is enriched by the wisdom of friends from all over the world.
It’s truly amazing how just in five years, how much Facebook has touched so much of my life and the lives of my friends and business associates. You may think I worship at the shrine of the Zuck, but seriously, Facebook has so many wonderful aspects that I don’t mind that I’m hooked. How about you?