New Castle News

December 8, 2012

Josh Drespling: Facebook proves it really is a small world after all

Josh Drespling
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — As time passes, I’m amazed at how small this world of ours seems.

The far-reaching grasp of our technology can bring distant lands to our doorstep. The bitter cold of Siberian Russia or the struggles in the Middle East are only a few clicks away. Curiosity, the Mars rover, is sending back amazing pictures and data from the red planet daily. If that’s not amazing, note that Mars at its closest proximity to Earth is more than 33.9 million miles (54.6 million kilometers) away.  

With the wonders of communication and technology at the forefront of our minds, I bring you the case of Facebook. Many people disparage the social media platform for what they chalk up to invasions of privacy or exploitation of information. They somehow feel that those out-of-focus and under-exposed photos of their cat will be used in some way to elicit their personal info. Though this argument may hold a sliver of merit, I am here to champion for the cause of Facebook and similar services such as Bebo, Tumbler, and Google+.

Using the power of these networks and their software ingenuity, I have been able to connect with a multitude of old friends who I never thought I would ever interact with again. There are old high school chums and college classmates. I've stumbled across some forgotten crushes and even a couple of old girlfriends. It's nice to see them all doing well.

This practical application also has kept me in touch with many current friends who I just don’t have enough time to call or write to, let alone stop by their houses and visit. We keep each other abreast of our current activities and often crack jokes with each other.  

One of my best friends from high school now lives in Scotland and, with a few clicks, I can drop him a line and see what he, his wife, and teenage daughter are up to. Another former colleague picked up and moved to Australia, where he met and married a local woman. It has been nice to follow his journey and see him become so happy. A former co-worker decided he was moving to New Zealand. He now posts amazing photos of the countryside and his adventures from the other side of the world.

I also get to debate politics with a former New Castle resident who lives in Alaska, not to mention the number of friends I have shared photos with of both personal and public matters.

Just the other day I talked to a woman who used to attend the same church as me. She messaged me and asked how I knew one of my friends, Jeremy. I told her the real-world back story about how my friend from several states away and I managed to cross paths in real life. It turns out she has known him since her college years, when her best friend introduced them. Thus enforcing the small-world scenario.

She also went on to tell me how she met her husband via Facebook. He was a friend of one of her friends and they just started talking. They have been married several years now. Congratulations!

Aside from hunting down old and new friends alike, this technology has put me in touch with a great number of my heroes and rock stars. I have had lengthy conversations with many members of bands that I adored while growing up, although some of these conversations and interactions have left me feeling disappointed and believing the adage that you should never meet your idols. I have been able to converse on a human level with so many of these “famous” people and knock down that imaginary wall that separates those type of people from us common peasants.

Social media is, without a doubt, collapsing our great big world into one giant mass of information. Some people point to it as a sign of the end, or an even greater evil. Some even claim it removes the humanity from communication, but I feel that it has brought me closer with the people I have selected to let into my life. I have finite control of who is here and who is not.

Yeah, it has made the world smaller. But wise use of this resource has afforded me the luxury of sharing life and ideas with people whom I would never be able to talk to without this technology.