August 20, 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 Picks

"On Christmas Eve of 1966, Paddy Roy Bates, a retired British army major, drove a small boat with an outboard motor seven miles off the coast of England into the North Sea. He had sneaked out of his house in the middle of the night, inspired..."

"The book that changed lecturer, activist, and current presidential candidate Marianne Williamson’s life, A Course in Miracles, is not available for free online, but its workbook is. You can find it on the website for the Foundation for..."

"Here are two sets of statements from far-distant opposites in the climate change debate. The first is from Naomi Klein, who in her book This Changes Everything paints a bleak picture of a global socioeconomic system gone wrong: “There is a..."

"Voters who trust their government — and each other — are more supportive of ambitious welfare states than those who do not. Across nations, high levels of social trust correlate with high levels of social spending. The relationship between these..."

"With the presidential campaign under way, expect to hear a lot more about a shiny new toy of progressive economic thinking, “modern monetary theory.” It seems to be the only intellectual contortion that might allow candidates to promise..."

"“We don’t want to fight y’all. We’re not trying to go to jail.” That’s what A$AP Rocky, the 30-year-old New York City rapper, can be heard saying in a video of an encounter with strangers in Sweden that has ballooned into an international crisis."

"Israel’s top officials are considering denying Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib entry to their country due to their outspoken, controversial criticism of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians, not to mention their slurs against American Jews as..."

"For most of our lives, we have been conditioned to share a piece of personal information without a moment’s hesitation: our phone number. We punch in our digits at the grocery store to get a member discount or at the pharmacy to pick up..."