The Awesome Power Of Facebook

Facebook seems to be changing rapidly. It is getting smarter and smarter at connecting people together - all of us, everyone. To me, its fascinating.

This Thanksgiving, I have noticed that more and more people from my childhood became visible to me on Facebook. These are people that I have not seen since grammar school or Jr. High School. I went to boarding school in 9th grade, which pretty much disconnected me from a lot of people in my hometown of Detroit Lakes, MN. I would see a number of them in the summertime, but not everyone. Now, with Facebook, this massive sociology study comes into focus.

Growing up in northern Minnesota was a blessing for me and continues to be a blessing for everyone who has that privilege. My childhood was an absolute blast. In the summer we spent every day in the lake swimming, fishing, water skiing, kayaking, sailing, or simply laying on the dock killing mosquitos. Oddly, we spent all winter on the lake too - ice fishing, snowmobiling, playing hockey, cross country skiing, etc. We even had a nearby hill (we called it "The Mountain") big enough to learn how to downhill ski. Between seasons you hunt deer, geese, ducks, pheasant, or anything else that moves. I think that I got gun certified around the age of 7 or 8.

Leaving Minnesota was not very hard. I think that communities are bound together by the friendships and family that surround you. My family is scattered all over the county and my friendships were stronger at Shattuck than they were in Detroit Lakes. My three best buds also went to boarding school. One stayed in Detroit Lakes where he lives today. One lives in Martha's Vineyard and another in Boston, MA. I went to NY before moving to California. There was a stronger force drawing me out into the world than drawing me back to my hometown. So, off I went.

Through Facebook, I was able to see a proxy of my life appear as though I was still living in Detroit Lakes. I am able to peek into the lives of my school friends to see what they are up to. Sadly John died recently of a motorcycle accident. Most everyone else is doing what you would expect. They have jobs, families, birthdays, and weddings . But more than that, if you look at photos of people who live in Minnesota, you notice things that you do not find so much in California. You see men and women holding large fish or deer on their profile pages. I saw a family photo taken with everyone sitting on their snowmobiles. You see more 4-wheelers than Porsches. Lots and lots of photos of people on boats, and plenty of them are Lund Boats.

Most of all, you see smiles. The same similes that you see everywhere on Facebook. And you learn that life is what you make of it, wherever you make your life. Life is more about people than places or things. I guess that I have always known this, but middle age is allowing me to feel it a little more than before, and Facebook allows me to see it with a little more clarity.


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