Maybe Facebook isn’t Wasting My Life

This whole project has pushed me into doing something I really wasn’t happy about. I mean, I’m glad to get to help out kids, and hopefully I can help a lot of them,  but it turns out that that’s not all that I’ll be doing. This project is part of a class, and one of the requirements of the class is using social media. Or, it might be better to say that it is putting social media to good use.

In the past I’ve bent to social pressure only so far.  Yes I have a Facebook account, but no Twitter account, no other blogs or anything.  I just feel like there’s not much to be gained and much to be lost, especially when I have friends that can spend hours on Facebook. I’ve never been able to figure out what it is that you can do for more than a few minutes on Facebook, but people do just that.  Things like Twitter and status updates have rarely caught my attention, as I  tend to disregard the whole slew of posts about the minutiae of people’s lives, many of which I barely know.  I have 133 friends on Facebook, and I think that I know moist of them, but I only really interact with about ten to twenty on a regular basis. And of course a regular basis has been maybe once a week—twice if it’s a slow week.

Well, things change. I have decided to change just by signing up for a class that grades me on my use of social media.  But my hope is that that’s not the only change. In doing so I’ve started to take a more serious look at what is going on with a lot of social networking sites. And what I’ve found is that while there is still a big chunk of people that just want to think that the world cares that their milk was spoiled and it ruined their breakfast, there are actually some people out there that have something useful to say.  Now, some of this is just a matter of people that normally have useful things to tell you are now using the internet to put those useful things out there where anyone can get at them. But, there is a growing use of social media to create social and political movements. Just this past week I was listening to “True Talk” on the local radio (http://www.wmnf.org/programs/256), and in talking about the big protests and riots in Egypt, there was talk about what was happening on Twitter and Facebook—how social networking was bringing people together, not just online, but in the streets. In fact I think that a recent Op-Ed in The New York Times gives a good evaluation of the power of social media (http://nyti.ms/hTsXa2).  It may not be able to lead people, but it can certainly bring them together—or at the very least open their eyes.

Egyptian anti-riot police confront activists outside a building in central Cairo as protesters defied a ban on public gatherings. Picture: Associated Press via The Australian

That is why I’ve opened a Twitter account (http://twitter.com/philosopat), hope to put my Facebook account to better use, and am writing in this blog. There are people that will read this and will find out that there are things that they can do—that they should do. And if this is where they find out then, all the better.  There are people out there that need our help, and this is a chance to not just tell you that, but to let you know how you can help.

Click here for list of items we collect.

Click here for information about how to make a tax-deductible contribution to our shipping fund.

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