HELEN BURTON: The joys of using Facebook

Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001
Helen Burton SUS-160113-100959001

This week I feel the need to share the joys of Facebook to those of you that might feel it’s not for you. I know some people are hesitant to use social networking sites and they often get a bad press, being quoted as having a negative effect on society. Well, in my opinion it’s all about how you use it.

I’ve used it to connect to my community. I’ve joined groups and liked pages that interest me, and news from those groups and pages arrives on my newsfeed which I check regularly. It only need take a few seconds to see what is happening locally and get involved. Most of the events I’ve been to or projects I’ve been involved with I have found out about on Facebook. Community projects can use Facebook to connect with people and publicise what they are doing for free and I have ‘liked’ the page of every club, group and business in my parish so I can stay informed. I’ve made a lot of new friends through Facebook. Several times I have accepted or made a friend request on Facebook and got to know that person online long before I have ever met them. When I’ve met Facebook friends for the first time at an event it feels like I already know them, especially as we have usually become friends because of a shared interest in local ethical issues. Some people just use Facebook to keep in touch with close friends and family, it is a great way of sharing snippets of your life, photos etc and it can be a more intimate way of being involved in people’s lives because on the phone or in person you often just share the big stuff, whereas on Facebook you can share the minutia of life. You may have mixed feelings about this! This was how I used to use Facebook for a long time, but when I joined more local groups and started to interact with others I started to accept friend requests from people I didn’t know and all of a sudden I felt part of a community! Pevensey Parish Council has just received praise in the local media for joining the Facebook revolution. The parish page has already announced events the council is organising, told parishioners what they are doing regarding the library and warned of palm oil found on the local beach. By ‘liking’ and following the page Parishioners can now be fully informed of council news, events and local issues. It would be great if Eastbourne Borough Council would catch up! ESCC and Wealden already have pages. If you want to find out more, Helen Owen Marketing Enterprises runs free digital open days to help teach social media skills as well as several other training sessions. (Helenowen.org) Coffee Pot Computers helps seniors with digital issues. (www.coffeepotcomputing.co.uk) Both can be found on Facebook!