Please don't get me wrong. I truly enjoy Facebook and getting to see snippets of my friends' lives, photos of their children, funny things that happen in their daily lives. I like to feel connected to people I might not be otherwise if Facebook hadn't come along.
But something happened this morning that made me realize there are some real problems with this sense of connectedness. An author acquaintance became a Facebook friend a while back. This author passed away last year, and although I wasn't close to her, her death shook me. Today is her birthday. I know because Facebook told me on the top right hand corner of my screen.
It reminded me again of her passing. This has happened many times before--some friends who have passed away remain on Facebook, their personas still there as if they are alive and well. I decided to check her page today to see who was remembering her as I was. That's when I saw the 'happy birthday's and "blessings and prosperity", etc. Do these Facebook friends not know that she died last year?
Facebook, as far as I know, has no way of knowing when someone passes away. On one hand, it is nice to remember the person as they were, see their posts, see moments of their lives shared for always. But today I am reminded that I have a false sense of who my hundreds of friends are. Just because I am your FB friend, I do not know what you suffer, think, or have experienced unless you have publicly shared it. And I don't know about you, but a real friend is someone who knows things that you will only share in private.
For me, I'd like to apologize to all those people I consider "friends" on Facebook, whom I do not take the time to know personally, in person, face to face. I pray I never blindly wish someone well who has passed to the hereafter, simply because Facebook prompted me to buy them a gift from Starbucks or send them an e-greeting.
I do want to be your friend. I just fear I am not such a good friend on Facebook. I'm much better when I get to know your private heart, face to face, over a real cup of coffee.