I’d like to thank you for always being there to give me a distraction from life.
When the menopausal monster conspires to get me out of bed before the sun is foolish enough to make an appearance, it is you that I turn to for company and consolation.
When I’m feeling lonely and isolated, it is you that I go to in an attempt to feel reconnected.
Sometimes this works wonders as I see my newsfeed bursting with pages of positivity.
FACEBOOK, THE ULTIMATE BRAGGING PLATFORM
Other times I find I feel worse when I see how my friends are actually living life, forgetting that I’m seeing this because they too have taken time out from living to post photos of proof that their lives are brilliant.
You give me a bragging platform I am sorry I didn’t have when my own children were young and I could wax lyrical about their cuteness.
Don’t feel bad about this – I’m making up for it with my grandchildren.
It makes me wonder, though, how did I manage before you?
It is through you, dear Facebook, that I become aware of so many issues. How did I keep up with the news before you?
When I hear a bump in the night, or see an unusual amount of police activity in the area, I open my newsfeed to see if anyone knows what is going on.
Sometimes you get your information so wrong. I remember with sadness the beautiful Elsa cake made with love that was posted and ridiculed all through your pages.
If sticks and stones will break my bones, your name calling could break my heart.
But you have brought so many people together. Because of you, I reconnected with a loved one I hadn’t spoken to in 13 years.
That in itself is reason to adore you.
However, there are also a lot of friends who use you to hide their laziness, writing sweet rhymes about their love of their Facebook friends and how you don’t need to be in proper contact to remain best buddies.
Funny, these same people used to pick up the phone and tell you, and not the world, that nugget of sweetness.
I know of a few people – very few – who avoid you completely, wisely recognising their emotional equilibrium is at stake.
Facebook, you require a thick skin.
When carefully constructed posts are totally ignored, even the most confident person feels the rejection. No matter with your new algorithms it is possible no one actually saw that post, being ignored still stings.
Worse than this, you provide a platform for all the keyboard warriors to vent their bitter frustrations, not caring about the effect on their targets as they are protected by their cloak of invisibility and righteousness.
I have to congratulate you, though, on deciding against an ‘unlike’ button, it must have been a tempting addition to contributing to your research on human interactions.
It surely would have opened the door to more online bullying which, as you know, is now one of the major mental health issues facing society today.
I can’t help but feel like a bit of a lab rat when I think of all the information about me you have stored, supposedly in the interests of improving my Facebook experience.
For someone who grew up knowing her secrets would be safe if not spotted by Mrs Busy Body at Number 8, the online world of information can be a bit creepy.
However, as one of the 83 percent of parents who are Facebook friends with their teenage kids (though mine are now older) I appreciate we no longer need to rely on Mrs Busy Body to know what’s going on in their lives.
I feel grateful your amazing resource was unavailable when I was young. It means I’ve formed habits that newer generations wouldn’t consider.
On any train trip I can see all heads down, looking at their phones or tablets, probably looking at you.
Me? I still look out the window and try to spot the painted stations, horses and cattle, and the child who clambers and scrambles.
I feel confident in dinner and party conversations, not having had the crutch of you to resort to when there was a lull.
You were not around as a distraction when my kids were young and needed a mindful mum.
Still, I am grateful for you today. Because of you, I get to see instantly any cute thing my granddaughters get up to.
Because of you, I can watch my friends’ grandkids growing up and rejoice in their achievements.
Because of you, I am making new friends, some of whom I may never see in the flesh, but that doesn’t lessen their impact on my life.
Because of you, dear Facebook, I find out about dangers and dramas faster than even news alerts can inform me.
You have come to the party so many times when it has been called for. Your Safety Check feature is an example.
This feature, only activated when necessary, helps loved ones reconnect when there is a disaster.
Using all that information you have about us, you are able to determine who is likely to be an affected area and you contact them to confirm they are safe, then share this information with friends and family, lessening their distress.
You act as a catalyst for charitable donations after disasters affecting individuals and groups.
People use you to reconnect with family and friends, find lost pets, search for owners of found treasures and launch social campaigns.
Your more than 1.59 billion monthly active users can express themselves through your platform, sometimes helping them get through troubled times.
For those who are isolated, geographically or because of an impairment, you are a saviour.
And when I’m not feeling the love from friends, you pop in with a picture of a good memory previously posted by me and make the day seem brighter again.
So, thank you Facebook.
I hope you have a gleeful week, Tamuria.