Facebook, Scrabble & Me
Posted September 20, 2009on:
A few years ago when I was working on books about living with childhood cancer (one for kids and one for adults), a couple of the young people I interviewed “friended me” on Facebook.
I created a Facebook page on the social utility, but never used it much. After all, it started for college students in a dorm room at Harvard University. Soon it spread across the country and into high schools. Then it was opened to people of all ages all over the world.
And while my son said when he left for college that I could look for pictures on his Facebook page, it was a tad creepy to do so. And yet he had made that offer knowing how much I love photos. However, he later said he didn’t remember that offer. Did I make that up? Was I the cyber stalker mom for a brief time?
Now, if you haven’t seen the Onion News store on parents stalking their children in college digitally through Facebook and Twitter, you must watch this hilarious video:
My cousin, Art, solved that Facebook insecurity issue for me. Ten years older than me and winding down his law practice, he discovered Facebook and uses it big time. He found me and we became Facebook friends.
Then he found my son, who not only agreed to be a friend of Art’s, Michael sent out a request to me to be his friend. I agreed. Oh boy, did I agree. 🙂
Last Thanksgiving, I talked my daughter Maggie into getting on Facebook and within 24 hours she had many more friends than me. The big difference between kids and young adults and the rest of us on Facebook is probably the number of friends. Younger folks have a heck of a lot more than us older folks. But, hey, I’m not complaining. I have 241 friends and for those of you who are not on Facebook, these friends do not require a lot of your time or emotions – unless you so choose.
The real benefit of Facebook is you connect with people. I’ve found friends from way back – even elementary school, junior high (yes it was called that then) and high school and some have found me. It is very, very fun. And since I’ve had cancer, they have reached out with support for me with my cancer even though it had been decades since I’d seen many of them. Some have shared their own stories with cancer as well.
I have never been private about my cancer. I don’t care who knows and invite sharing so others feel comfortable talking about it. So on Facebook, I announced in my “status” periodically where I was in various stages of diagnosis. When word gets out, people find ways to support you. That always helps.
A bonus treat for me of Facebook is playing Scrabble. It was our family game growing up, although I never played with anyone in La Crosse regularly. In fact, it had been years since I played.
Now a half dozen or more people play with me through Facebook Scrabble across the country. I have something like 22 to 25 games going at any time. Mostly, I make plays in the games and check back to see when others have made their moods.
Sometimes we are on at the same time and can harass each other. (You know who you are.)
All of my opponents are looking forward to playing me once I have “chemo brain,” a fogginess that sometimes (maybe usually) comes with chemotherapy. It’s not that my Scrabble friends aren’t beating me now, however. They are not a bit kind despite my dual diagnoses of breast cancer & athletes feet. And, they’re very willing to take advantage of me later. In Scrabble, no prisoners are taken.
But in Facebook, friendships are made, rediscovered and continued in new ways.