A decade of social network.

Happy Birthday!

Dear Facebook, you just turned 10.

You have come long way from a Harvard dorm room to modern, spacey office in Palo Alto.

The stats say that 1 out of 6 people worldwide are your users. Wow, you have lots of friends, don’t you?

Many more happy and friendly years to you!

And now back to serious writing.

I started using Facebook in 2008. Facebook had its “wall” but world still had to wait for the ubiquitous “like” button and busy News Feed, which was introduced in 2009.

I remember initially I had love-hate relationship with this new social network. In Poland we had already a site that connected old and new schoolmates called “Our School Class”. It was enough for me. Why should I share sensitive data in two places? However, little by little Facebook started seeping more and more into real social life around me not only the online reality. Jokes were passed online and commented in real life. Secrets were spilled on walls and private conversations. Pictures were uploaded and statuses took a crafty edge. Thanks to News Feed, birthday calendar, invites etc you could be in the center of the social life not really being a part of it on a day to day, real basis. All you needed to do was turn on the computer, log in and start down the highway of Facebook.

I gave up in about 2010. I shut down my account at “Our School Class” and devoted my time and privacy totally to Facebook.

Was I right to do that was tested when two and a half years ago I was given the opportunity to work full time as a Social Media expert.

And that is how I know look at Facebook. It’s my working space. My virtual office.

To sum up, Facebook not only gave us a considerable breach on privacy, made us overshare and upload to much information, made cyber bullies life easier. It also helped spread the awareness of global problems, helped people communicate, share their feelings and thoughts, boosted the blogosphere and created new jobs and professions.

After Facebook many similar social platforms followed.

But I think I will always have a soft spot for the blue channel and thumbs up. It seems like something more than a page now.

It feels like home.

#2 Character

– A woman in a facility for older people. Reminiscing, lonely.

My eyes are not what they used to be. I know, I know I am old. Even though everyday it comes as a surprise to me how badly the world is distorted by my inadequate vision.

How blurry the images have become. I wonder if I will be able to see clearly my final day. My judgement. I regret so many things which I have no more time to fix. The wrongs I cannot mend. Only my pillow knows my regrets. Only do rough linens touching my cheek and soaking up salty tears know.

Silent witnesses of my regrets.

#1 Character

– A killer while lying on operation table.

I look at the flickering white LED light above my head and imagine it’s heaven opening its arms to welcome and give me solace. I yearn for a holy piece that can be received only on the other side. And then I remember…

Up above, it is not a place for me, never will be, not anymore. I am a condemned man, a monster hiding in the shadows. And darkness will devour me. The road I travelled was paved with dirt and ugliness.

I will reap the malice I sow through my whole life. To seek salvation now is a true blasphemy. And yet in the face of Absolute, that is what I seek, what I yearn for.

Inspiration #2

A picture is worth 1000 words. This safe has been through a lot. Tell its story. Image credit: “safe” – © 2007 Paul Keller – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

When it came out of the manufacture line it was one out of many. There were hundreds of them. Identical safes, waiting for its owner and for a purpose. However, this safe had a special mission to fulfill. Out of all, it was singled out and picked by an ordinary man in his mid forties. The man, despite looking puny, had the strength to veer our safe out of the magazine and move it towards the exit. Our safe was put on the back of a dirty, yellow pickup truck by the same man. It was a shaky ride, with bumps and sudden stops, but at the end of it waited a new home for our lucky safe.

When the truck finally came to a stop, our safe was clumsily taken out and put on a soiled pavement. A centimeter to the left and once bright pink and now grayish chewing gum, would get stuck onto our safe’s bottom.

Next our safe was carried by a bell boy into an imposing looking hotel lobby, alive with quickly pacing people. It was put on a trolley and steered towards large elevator with a rectangular mirror. During the ride up to the top floor, the bell boy was making silly faces at the mirror and admiring his slightly crooked teeth. When the doors opened our safe was taken through long corridor layered with beige tapestry and lit by grand lamps.

Passing all the other modest looking entrances, the bell boy stopped in front of an dark, impressive, mahogany doors and knocked two times. When the doors opened out safe was introduced to an entirely different world full of dazzling luxury, cheerful laughter, bright lights, and dreams.

The new owner seemed very pleased with our safe. He praised the model and the workmanship. The owner tipped the bell boy and asked him to put our safe in the master bedroom. The bell boy did just that, but not before he nearly crashed a priceless vase. He was so overwhelmed by the vivid atmosphere of the place that he nearly collided with the artifact. Luckily nobody saw anything. Nobody but our safe that is.

When our safe was finally put into the room, it was the best place possible. Our safe was now facing the enormous window that took up one whole wall of the bedroom. The view outside was magnificent. The lights of the city sparkled with life and hope. The roofs of high skyscrapers  were littered with antennas and birds. And of course there was the sky – vast, inky space dotted with stars.

Yes, now our safe was content. It could spend its life here. Observe the world from here. Be silent, be still, be reliable and be a part of a history of this place. Our safe would see it all and tell no tales. Always in its spot. Taking it all in, like a sponge. Observing, seeing, listening, just being…

Inspiration #1

Italo Calvino said: The more enlightened our houses are, the more their walls ooze ghosts. Describe the ghosts that live in this house: Image credit: “love Don’t live here anymore…” – © 2009 Robb North – made available under Attribution 2.0 Generic

Helen Reed was a house wife and proud of it. She used to bake apple pie and make rhubarb compote. She liked the smell of fresh linen and laundry so she did it quite often, even when all the linens were pristine clean. Helen liked the house to be neat. No dust on the shelves, no bundles of  filth in the corners and definitely no item should be put out of its place.

It is a wonder how she managed to put up with George. Ah George where to even begin talking about dear, sweet, mellow George. George Reed was a history professor. He liked his job, he enjoyed teaching young minds about the value of past. He particularly took pleasure in reenacting the Civil War. Every year he would take his class out into the field and set up a battle between South and North.

How this two came to be a couple and later even more – a marriage? Well, George likes to think that it was done the right way. That as a man he dropped to one knee and eloquently proposed to his future fiancé. Helen sees it differently. The moment she saw young, tall, pale boy with dreamy eyes  and a bright future ahead of him, she knew he was the one for her. Helen steered the young man in right direction and “pop” there goes the ring. Either way both Mr and Mrs Reed are fond of each other very much and enjoy life together.

Helen is not bothered by the fact that she has to pick the stray socks, parchments, pencils and pens from various strange places around the house. George calmly listens to his wife’s tirades about keeping order and being more organized. They both seem at peace with each other. And why shouldn’t they? After all the years they have learned each other’s vices and virtues. One foresees every little move before the other makes it. They complement each other’s shortcomings. They truly became two half of one piece.

Moreover it took them only 234 years to come to terms with all of their little quirks. Oh didn’t I tell you? The Reeds are no longer walking among the living. Instead of crossing to the other side they decided to stay in their little home and work on their relationship. Now they live here peacefully tending to their garden. Wasn’t it Voltaire who said “we must cultivate our garden?”