Little Facebook miracles

Every time I hear someone say something negative about Facebook, I have to control myself not to bristle. I’ve been a “Facebooker” for quite a few years and the vast majority of my experiences there have been more than just positive — they’ve been enlightening, moving, touching, encouraging, happy, fun, funny, joyful, helpful, and inspiring. Am I just lucky? I don’t think so.

Just last week my Facebook friend Michelle, who lives in Paris, posted that she had a lovely baby grand piano in her former home in New Jersey that she needed to give away — quickly. She had a deadline of just a few days. I jokingly asked her if she could fax the piano to Brazil, but since she thought that might not be practical, I posted to a couple of other friends who live in New Jersey and New York about Michelle’s piano and asked them to spread the word.

Before long, I got a message from my friend Jerry, a guitarist-singer-entertainer-author, saying that he lived very close to the town where the piano was and that he’d love to have it. I’d forgotten that Jerry lived in New Jersey, so I was really happy about this. He said he was dying to learn to play the piano and also that he needed a baby grand piano for his upcoming video shoot. How perfect!

I got back to Michelle right away, even though it was the middle of the night in Paris. I kept my fingers crossed for both of them until the next day, when I got the good news from Jerry that everything had worked out and the piano was his!

I thought, wow, without Facebook would something like this have worked out so seamlessly, so effortlessly? Maybe, but I tend to think Facebook made it even easier.

Another time, I received a payment for a contest I’d won. Unfortunately the only way they could pay me was by a check issued in the USA, which I couldn’t cash in Brazil. I do have a bank account in the USA, but I needed someone to mail the check to and have them deposit it in my bank account. Right away I thought of Facebook. I put up a message asking if anyone could help me. Within an hour or less I got a message from Lorena, a Brazilian Facebook friend living in Connecticut, who said she’d be happy to do it. So I had the check sent to her address and she deposited it in my bank account. Just like that. No hesitation. I was more touched by this than she’ll ever know, and especially by the fact that she was so happy to do it and said it was just a natural thing to do.

I have also received gifts from two Facebook friends. One was a beautiful Italian charm bracelet with charms very carefully chosen to match my personality and interests, from my California friend Paula, whom I’d actually first met online before Facebook, and the other a lovely silver ball necklace from sweet Patricia from Chicago — the ball is actually a little chime that makes a delicate, ethereal sound when you shake it.

These are just a few examples. Other friends have generously offered to send me “care packages” of food items from the USA that can’t be found here in Brazil, for instance. And of course it works both ways. Whenever I see a friend with a need on Facebook, I do what I can to meet it, if possible, and I’m always touched by how quickly people respond when someone posts that a love one has passed on or that they are in some kind of trouble.

I have never met any of these people in person. They are all “virtual” friends. So for those who say that online friendships aren’t “real life” I have to ask: what’s “real?” To me, the virtual “handshakes” extended on Facebook are just as real as the physical variety, and equally satisfying. Have you had any serendipitous experiences on Facebook or other social networks?

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “Little Facebook miracles

  1. Sharon Strong

    Yes I have, Amy! Thanks so much for this blog. Many times I have been a bit “down” as I worked through some distressing issues, and have found just the needed inspiration through the posts by others. These posts were unique, funny, encouraging, inspiring and resonated perfectly with me. I agree, I have many friends that I don’t know, but it’s amazing how they help me! So every now and again I remember that I must pay it back! These exchanges and having needs met just reminds me of how mental the universe is… So, it is as “real” as you make it, and people ARE real, even if you don’t know them, and we together are making this social media a real benefit!

  2. Sharon, I love to think of Facebook, when it’s used this way, as the path to true brother-sisterhood!

  3. Libby Unwin

    The biggest miracle for me is contact with family (you, Karen, my nieces and nephews and their kids, your grandchild, on and on……) Since I’m here ant you and they are all there I never would even have contact–let alone talking to you all. To me that’s a miracle and why I have a computer and Facebook.

  4. That’s one of mine, too, Libby!

  5. Sharon Strong

    And here’s another fun one that just happened. I read a post that included a poem by Caroline Watson, called I See You. I loved the poem and thought it reflected closely a painting of an artist I found on the internet and posted one of her paintings on FB. The painter, Jeanie Tomanek, said the poem touched her so deeply she would use it as the inspiration for her next painting. Don’t you just love it?!

  6. Alan Curtis

    Aloha Amy! As an individual who has a hate/love relationship with FB and who has numerous times shut down my account only to eventually return, I wholeheartedly agree with your comments about the positive things that can happen via Facebook. These are the things I love a out it. The part I hate is probably not common knowledge to the vast majority of unsuspecting FB users. Never mind the serving of posts on one’s news feed based on the unsuspecting mining of data as it relates to your activity. That’s a topic in and of itself.But what really gets me ticked off is what happens when I post to FB. I post something in good faith that it will be shared with at least a large portion of my FB friends. As a content creator I want to get my content into the feeds, eyes, and ears of those who may want to see it in hopes that they derive a blessing or encouragement. However fact of the matter is that as few as 1% ever see the post. And if the post happens to be a link to some YouTube content you can fuhgettaboutit. Facebook in their zeal to surpass YouTube as a video platform purposely suppresses links with YT content. So I hate hate hate FB coming from the perspective of a content creator. For content consumers whiich the vast majority of FBers and humans re, this is probably a non issue.
    I wouldnt have a problem with it either if FB were forthright and divulged this to users. But it’s the cloak of secrecy that rubs me very wrongly.
    I say all of this to say that when people vociferously whine about FB which I do religiously it may just be for reasons that it’s advocates are unaware of. Deliver in a transparent way what you advertize to your users FB. Then maybe the cheese and whine crybabies like me will be silenced. Until then don’t make me shout it from the rooftops because I WILL ! 🙂

    • Hey Alan…this is as good a place as any for a rant! Thanks for hipping me to a bunch of things I didn’t realize about FB. I hope they will improve if enough people complain. As it stands now, you have to pay to reach a wider audience, and from what I’ve seen that doesn’t work very well, either!

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