The Fecundity of Facebook

Earth by Orru,

In the last two posts, I’ve explored a world without Facebook and the love/hate relationship we have with it.  Now I want to go deeper into the great fecundity of Facebook.

First let me concede that Facebook is indeed a time sucker; though of course the same can be said about children and friends and dogs.

Choices have to be made, and sometimes we don’t make them.  We jump onto Facebook and whittle away precious time without intending to do so.

To me, this isn’t a Facebook problem, but a consciousness problem. It’s the same consciousness required when we make any decision about how to use our attention and connection.

Connection is the most exciting aspect of Facebook–the potential of it–best captured in this quote by Marianne Williamson:

It is not only our interconnectedness technologically that promises to shift the world we live in, but our interconnectedness humanly and spiritually.

What I  find very promising about this connection on Facebook (and even, dare I say in Reality TV) is this:  it puts each person in the center of his own story, and in doing so gives each a voice–to connect with others.

Voice is essential to change, and people need to begin where they are–whether they’re talking about the weather, their pets or politics. It all matters. Each person. Every day. Every story:

Few of us write great novels; all of us live them.

~Mingon McLaughlin

When our voices connect with others, we help shape the world. From the Egyptian spring to the Occupy Movement, the internet connects the human story across the globe:

This is the first time in human history when everyone, everywhere, all of humanity, is politically awake... Surely these are challenging times, when it is easy to fear for ourselves, those we love, our nations and our planet. Yet they are also amazing times when humanity is organizing to better the world, demanding to be free or die, creating ever larger circles of connections, and awakening to our power… ~Julia Bondi

For many, like myself, Facebook provides a home base from which to explore what is going on–first among the inner circle of friends, and then outward into the network of connection that is created via each individual.

Joshua Gorman, founder of Generation Waking Up, posted these words today about the potential of these expanding connections:

Gratitude for the growing networks
of change
Let’s amplify
Let’s multiply
This Movement that has so many names
is opening up to its greater chapter yet
I see Facebook as one of the great teachers of what it means to be connected, to have a voice, and to use it to make a difference–whether with a friend, a life or a cause.

Kelly Salasin, February 2012

The Fecundity of Facebook is the third in a series of posts:

The Life of a Blog

nest by Irish--Eyes

I woke from a tumultuous night of dreams, drenched in sweat–and drugged–one foot still in the dreamworld, the other limping toward my day.

I dreamed of the arms of my first love, and the reunion was sweet, and complete, and wondrous. We were brought together for our daughter, just discovered, to collaborate on her education.

In real life that child had been aborted, and had she not, she’d be over thirty, well past the age of needing our help with school.

Details like that don’t matter in the dreamworld and so my love and I entered an alcove off the kitchen and began the dance of reunion. Only I had to tell him how to make me come. And that kind of ruined the mood, and the illusion, that in him, I would find “home”–and so as dreams often do, my first love morphed into my lasting love–my husband; and I continued on my way.

I moved through the kitchen, past the stove, and was joined by my best friend from high school. Together we walked through rubble strewn floors, just like the roads from Irene, and as we did, we smiled at friends, seated at tables in the restaurant where I worked in my youth; and then we headed downhill, past empty desks, in the classroom where I first taught.

We ended our journey together in front of a computer, and my blog was on the screen, and my friend helped me tweak its widgets.

In the morning, when I recalled this dream, it didn’t take my resident interpreter long to figure out its meaning. “It’s about the New York Times,” my husband says, referring to yesterday’s article, which launched me and my Vermont blog into a moment of a fame.

It was two and a half years ago that I began blogging, just for fun. At the time, I was searching for myself in the rubble of my years as wife and mother and homemaker. I looked behind them toward the restaurant and the classroom, but I had outgrown each; and so I began to explore new possibilities and in doing so discovered the worldwide web of connections.

Experts and teachers offered free tele-classes, and I gobbled them up each week. Blogging and Facebook and Twitter were touted by each one for networking and platform building; and despite the fact that I had nothing to network or a platform, I dove in.

Tentative at first, I soon found that blogging offered an opportunity to share my writing without worrying about contracts or copyright or fitting into someone’s format or making a buck.

“Focus on a niche,” the experts said, but I couldn’t choose, so in less than 9 months, I gave birth to 6–one blog for each of the things I love: my work, my children, my husband, spirit, healing and Vermont.

I wrote passionately for another year with life providing no shortage of material to fill each new home. And then, having fully satisfied myself with this orgy of expression, I wanted more.

Not more blogging, but more substance. A book. Something solid. And so during the winter months I wrote it, and in the spring, I let in sleep, and in the summer I shared it with friends–just to hear it in their voices, careful not to ask for anything more, not praise or critique–nothing to distract me from the work.

Afterward, I put the book to sleep again, and took a long end of summer vacation, intending on resting my voice and delving into the pleasure of reading others, but instead life delivered one crisis after another, and I found myself blogging in a fury–from my son’s accident, to my best friend’s, to the murder, and then the floods.

And now this, the New York Times. An interview, and a link to my blog. No wonder my dreams were tumultuous.

I both crave a larger platform and fear it–worried that I’ll loose myself in the waves of change.  The humility of my life as a mother in rural Vermont has tethered me for so long that I’m reluctant to transcend it–not wanting to let go of the earth and be trampled in the dust of ego.

That the Times and the sweat-filled dreams preceded the day upon which I was to re-awaken my book should be no surprise.  With the coming of fall, my plan was to dust off this second draft and begin reading again–this time by myself–to find if there was anything worth publishing.

In the midst of all this, company arrives, and friends in need ask for help, and my family comes down with the flu.

Apparently, life and love will be the ballast I need no matter where my work takes me.

Kelly Salasin, Autumn 2011