I’m currently in the Facebook penalty box. Have been for almost a week. It’s the second time this month. And, guess what?! I’m miserable because I miss connecting with my Facebook friends.
I’m the last person I ever thought would become enamored of an electronic “friendship” site.
Up until a year ago, I had used Facebook solely to connect with people I already knew. Now I spend hours every day communicating with many hundreds of like-minded people. And I love it!
Why such a change? As many of you know, eight months ago I published a self-help book to help others overcome negative thinking. It has received positive reviews and won an Indie Excellence award. But, that’s not enough to guarantee sales. A year ago, I began to learn about websites, social media, and other ways to reach people who might buy the book.
Since several marketing blogs suggested making LOTS of Facebook friends, I used my personal account to join about 15 Facebook groups related to recovery, positive thinking, mental health, and spirituality. Whenever I wrote a blog entry, I posted it in these groups. If someone commented or liked it, I sent them a friend request. After a while, I invited them to like my Gigi Langer Author page. And, voila! Suddenly, I had a few thousand friends and followers.
Here’s my big surprise: My Facebook feed, although full of strangers, became a constant stream of loving, positive, caring messages. No more political rants or disparaging remarks.
It was wonderful. But then it wasn’t.
A couple of weeks ago, I had apparently issued too many friend invitations, so I was shut out for three days. Then this week, they gave me another time-out for posting in too many FB groups in one day. UGH!
So, why am I suffering? Because, I miss my digital friends! After one year, I find I truly care about so many of them. We pray for one another, send encouraging notes, and celebrate our victories during life’s ups and downs. We’ve shared some surprisingly honest, inspiring exchanges.
I had no idea that we could connect at the heart-level through this much-maligned medium.
Apparently, Mr. Rogers knew it all along; he used TV to do the same thing. According to the recent movie “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” he often asked his TV audience to spend an entire minute silently thinking about people who had helped them in any way at all—a teacher, friend, grocer, server, relative, mentor, and so on. As the second-hand moves, each of us feels our heart expanding. Soon, we’re immersed in loving connection with others. By the end, everyone’s smiling.
That’s the same way I feel about many of my Facebook friends — connected at the heart. Thank you, Facebook!
Gigi Langer is a former “Queen of Worry.” She’s also an educator, speaker, and author of 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection, winner of the 2018 Indie Excellence Award. Available through Amazon (5 stars), Barnes and Noble, and e-book sites. Langer holds a PhD in Psychological Studies in Education and an MA in Psychology, both from Stanford.