February 17, 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.”

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"Have world leaders really got the will to bring peace to Yemen? We hear much about Yemen’s crisis, but far less about the hypocrisy of states fuelling the very conflict they condemn."

"No poll so far in our database has tested Trump against the relatively unknown Weld... Indeed, Weld seems like one of the weakest candidates that anti-Trump Republicans could put up in a national campaign. "

"An initiative by the mayor of Tiberias for the municipality to help provide public transportation on the Sabbath has caused the issue of the social status quo to the forefront of public discussion."

"Like “30 Rock,” “Kimmy Schmidt” obviously slanted leftward, but most always exhibited a similar eagerness to skewer politics more generally than just the GOP."

"Yes, we’re all overwhelmed with email. One recent survey suggested that the average American’s inbox has 199 unread messages. But volume isn’t an excuse for not replying."

"... platforms now have a stranglehold over publishers who, individually and even as a group, have little-to-no bargaining power when it comes to algorithmic changes, ad rates, and much else."

"[There's] a subgenre known as National Socialist black metal, which espouses neo-Nazi views and has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as aiming to recruit youth to white-supremacist causes."

"“The Ideas That Made America” by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is an anomaly in the genre. Its brevity is a point of pride, yet it aspires to do a little of everything."

"My wish is to die in my own bed, cared for by people I love—clean, comfortable and relatively free from pain. I hope to have time to say my goodbyes and give my final blessings."

"A diet for fast weight loss is a pipe dream. Many of us want to lose weight without making permanent changes, because we view thinness instead of health as a success."

"Opportunity casts a long shadow over all subsequent Mars rovers, setting a gold standard of JPL engineering. Customized versions of its mobility software are used on the rovers Curiosity and upcoming Mars 2020."

"Biblical scholarship has deepened our understanding of the Torah and at the same time challenges us to consider the implications of our declaring the Torah to be emet. What is emet and what does it mean to say that the Torah is emet?"