Reflecting back... (This was a pic I posted on FB.)
Reflecting back…
(This was a pic I posted on FB.)

It’s that time of year where we reflect on the previous 12 months and decide what changes we would like to make for the coming year. According to Facebook, which now has a feature that shows your “year in review,” my 2013 has been a happy year with various milestones to celebrate.

This amuses me. It looks like the way Facebook creates your year is by taking a random assemblage of your posts with the highest number of likes. Makes sense—in a Facebookian way. Likes = validation, and validation = reality in the social media world.

This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy Facebook, though. I do. Social media, when kept in context, can be wonderful. Out of context…it can be ridiculous or even painful.

I have a few friends who do not “do” Facebook—for various reasons, including “stupid,” “I don’t have time for that crap,” “I don’t want to be a slave to it,” and “I don’t need people snooping around in my personal stuff.” Of course, they have every right to choose not to be on the site, but my response to them is almost always “it is what you make of it.”

Your social world is up to you. And I guess that is precisely what can be the good and bad of it. While some people do post the minute details of their days, most of my FB friends are judicious with what they post, and I get a peek into their lives that I wouldn’t have in an otherwise busy world.

And what is it we are peeking at? Many times when a person chooses what they deem to be “Facebook-worthy,” it’s that they are having fun somewhere or perhaps sharing a slice of life that made them smile. The good stuff.

Another pic I posted that was well "liked." A nice night out downtown.
Another pic I posted that was well “liked.” A nice night out downtown.

But there have also been many times where people have posted something where they needed support—maybe moral support or prayers—for a trouble on their heart and in their lives. This can be the very good stuff of Facebook. It gives me a chance to listen and offer compassion. To let someone know that I “heard” them when they were calling out. It may not be much, but it’s something.

When my mother was rehabilitating from a serious health issue and I asked people to send her cards…Voilà. Cards appeared. How cool is that?

I don’t often post that kind of thing, though, and my Year in Review reflects that. While my mom needing cards to brighten her day made the cut, many other harsh realities did not. And that’s okay. My Facebook 2013 will not accurately reflect all of my 2013 because I get to choose. Simple as that.

And if we remember that most people post with a filter, then perhaps we can reduce the statistics that show that people often feel worse after being on social media. Who needs or wants that?

We ought to be able to share in each other’s joys without it taking anything away from us. But, of course, it always helps to be considerate in what you’re posting, too. (It’s never fun to see photos of a big party where you wonder why you weren’t invited to it.) A little “golden rule” can go a long way.

So with an understanding that people typically choose the “good stuff” to show us, and a consideration that we shouldn’t flaunt our “good stuff,” Facebook can be a great way to stay in touch. Because of FB, I’ve been able to share in the joys and woes of friends that I couldn’t possibly have time to keep connected with in the “real” world. I am grateful for that.

Overall, if my 2013 was a student, I would be sending it to the Dean’s Office. But when I look at my 2013 on Facebook, I am reminded of some of the blessings that I have forgotten amidst the other craziness. What a nice gift.

I’d like to take a moment to say thank you for your readership. I know how hectic and full life is, so I appreciate it very much that you take some time out of your crazy day to read my words. Thank you.

I hope you all have a wonderful New Year and a 2014 full of blessings, peace, and hope…because…here it comes!

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