I confess I don’t really remember when i first joined facebook – was it 2005? – when my NYC agent first “friended” me and I “accepted.” I don’t really remember when i started signing on regularly and enjoying people’s “status” lines changing. All I know is that this thing is a social network with wings and I am happy to climb on board. Today one of the virtual “groups” that i joined sent me an email that hints that it so much more than a social network.
Yes, the YERT group on facebook proved mighty useful during our year on the road – Several times we landed a friendly place to stay just because somebody forwarded our message. My babysteps blog automatically posts, which is a lovely thing. It’s super easy to post photos and videos and thus keep abreast of everyone’s happinesses and growing families and accomplishments. Just recently, high school acquaintances have started popping up in my inbox, and I realize I have the opportunity to kindle relationships with people I had not really known in the hormone-laced haze of high school – who I may only now be able to fully appreciate and only now realize that i have important things in common with.
There are some annoying aspects of the network, like the endless applications that show up and seem to multiply within seconds. (I thought they were fun at first and allowed a “green” application called “Lil Green Patch,” an application which asks you to “help take care of so-and-so’s plot – there’s a deer in their yard – you’ve saved 62 square feet of rainforest…” I presently have 237 “Lil Green Patch” requests and I am unconvinced that any rainforest anywhere is being protected from slashing and burning just bc i am watering my friend’s virtual garden of strawberry shortcakes. Call me a cynic, but I have just stopped watering.)
I am, however, intrigued by the Causes application. Today I was particularly elated to find out that one of the virtual “groups” that i joined has actually made a very REAL difference. It may seem small but it is a brilliant example of how, together, making some noise, we really can initiate change. The group was called “Take Back The Filter: Help Convince Clorox to Recycle Brita Filters!” which takes you to this address where people could add their names to a petition asking the manufacturers of Brita filters to take back and recycle their product so that it won’t become more needless landfill. And guess what? It worked!!!
How about that? And probably it wasn’t just facebook – I am sure the website reached many more people in different ways – but that is how I found the petition and added my voice, and I am proud and thrilled to have played a little part. I enjoyed similar satisfaction during YERT when I wrote CamelBak a letter and returned our water bottles due to #7 plastic and BPA and, a few months later, learned that CamelBak was changing its bottles due to consumer requests! We were heard. And heeded.
Ah! My baby is waking up on my lap now so i’ll close but i want to encourage everyone out there that your voice can and DOES make a difference – however you use it – be it a letter, a phone call, your name on an emailed petition, FACEBOOK, what you buy or don’t buy…It’s your VOTE, and it may seem small, but it’s REAL and it’s powerful. Use it!