April 19, 2019

In Defense of Facebook

“One evening in early December, when I logged on to Facebook to see what sort of shenanigans my friends were up to, I was smacked in the face with startling news. One of my good friends had died the previous day after a long battle with cancer. It was shocking, especially since he kept his illness hidden from so many people.

I was confused, and the grief was instant.

But as I sat in my apartment, my eyes welling with tears, Facebook helped me not feel so alone. Many of my friends learned of Steve’s passing through the social network, and soon, the tributes, stories, and photos started filling my feed. While all of us were scattered across the country, we were together on Facebook to remember our friend. I found some comfort in those digital connections.

Isn’t this what Facebook is supposed to be about? The social network’s mission statement is to “give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook to stay connected with friends and family … and to share and express what matters to them.” And that’s exactly what happened the night I learned of Steve’s death. Even though my friends and I couldn’t be together in that moment, I was connected with them, and in that moment, I was grateful for Facebook’s very existence.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"After five years of war with the Islamic State, the biggest problem for the winners is coping with the losers. The aftermath has produced one of the world’s most perplexing postwar challenges..."

"What do we mean when we say that the “soul of the city” is under threat? Often, it’s really about politics, nostalgia, and the fear of community change."

"...the pendulum of history never stops moving. Indeed, one of the few constants of history is unceasing change. While we seem to be heading in one direction, we must remember that there will surely be pauses, turns, and reversals."

""Homecoming: A Film by Beyoncé," premiered early Wednesday and it was the fulfillment of all the ancestors' hopes and dreams. Beyoncé also dropped "Homecoming: The Live Album.""

"Seven in 10 adults ages 18 to 34 received financial support from their parents in the last year, including more than half of those in their early 30s. Almost three in five millennials said they couldn’t afford their lifestyles without the support."

"Social media influencers have helped turn public lands into tourist-infested swamps. And one cantankerous man is fighting back."

"One particular myth that attached itself to Ledger was that his death was somehow a result of immersing himself in the character of the Joker."

"In 2018, for the second year in a row, American publishers released fewer translated titles: 609 books were published, down from 650 in 2017 and the industry high in 2016 of 666."

"Egg freezing had become so routine among my single peers that when I hit 35, I never thought twice. Here’s what I wish I had known."

"When it comes to Passover cuisine, most home cooks know to avoid wheat, oats, rye, and other forbidden ingredients. But what consumers might not realize is just how much cotton they eat during the holiday."

"A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see."

"Passover is a holiday that commemorates the Jewish people escaping slavery in Egypt. It is often referred to as the “festival of freedom.” My Passover in prison was at a place called the Wallkill Correctional Facility..."