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Jim Collar: Facebook at 10 provides interesting gauge on life's changes

4:03 PM, Feb. 10, 2014  |  Comments

I chuckled last week on the occasion of Facebook's 10th anniversary at the shock many of our younger folks may have experienced in learning it hasn't been around forever.

Yet after watching my complimentary "look back" video, it became an occasion of deeper introspection. Photos and quotes, as they often do, brought renewed color to memories that faded gray. Wow.

In the greater picture, it was a reminder that life changes - personally and collectively - far faster than we think.

It provided some fodder for thought on how different things are today based on how we've taken our lives online. Facebook gets much of the credit. Social media accelerated from quirky fun to a powerful medium before many learned how to post that first family Christmas video.

It's good. It's not so good.

It's easier today to recognize we impact each other's lives in many profound ways. Going back to my first post, I wouldn't have figured I knew more than 400 people. I smiled from my internal place that clings to community to recognize there are more than 400 who care to keep track of my daily musings.

It's far easier to keep those important to us within grasp.

In that gauntlet-like transition from goofy teen to goofy grown-up, I had always been struck by the Bob Marley lyric, "good friends we've had, good friends we've lost along the way." Today, it's an idea that doesn't connect as it once did. I've developed real friendships with people who were previously no more than acquaintances. I rekindled friendships with those I would have otherwise never talked to again.

All that said, life was probably easier before signing on for that Facebook account.

Mom's dire warning that we watch our mouths has never before taken such grand importance. I do try to think of what Ma might think when I'm about to hit "send" on something that nears any line of controversy.

It's worrisome that the ease of maintaining relationships online has made it easier to cast off the important components that only happen when we're face to face.

As to our collective journey, it truly is amazing to note just how quickly the world is changing under our feet. Technology is an interesting lens from which to gain focus. It's mind-boggling to remember doing my job without email or easy web access. It's impossibly fascinating to think of who we'll be and how we'll live in 10 years based on today's emerging ideas.

I'm thankful for the expanded vision. It's so very easy to limit, congratulate or belittle ourselves based on what's tucked away in our small minds. It's good medicine to look upon and recognize we're all on parallel tracks along a landscape dotted with happiness, anguish, worry, confidence, anger and peace. I'm better for the world being a smaller place.

In short, when weighing out this whole Facebook thing, I suppose I'd hit "like."

What's your take on the Packers Family Night change?

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If you've ever answered "Who has the ball?" with "It's halftime," you might recognize The Airhead. Check out the characters in our cartoon gallery of oddball fans.

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