Confession time -- I don't really like Facebook.
Let me back up. What I mean to say is I don't like posting on Facebook. I've discussed my preference for keeping my life and my writing very private in previous posts to my blog (You can read them here).
I guess you can call it introversion, if you like. It's certainly one of the things that I love most about writing. In my imagination, the perfect weekend is spent alone in a hoodie and virtual silence as I type away at my computer. Posting on Facebook is the opposite of that ideal. I just don't see the appeal of throwing your life's business across the internet for relative strangers to gawk at and comment on to their "friends".
Of course that hasn't stopped me from writing one of these blog posts every week. It seems the one pearl of wisdom that every self-publishing-website has in common is that a writer must generate "buzz" for his or her book. Start a blog. Get a Facebook page. TWEET!
Before I went public with all this book business, I used Facebook in the way God intended: to quickly share pictures with my family and friends, and to stalk my old acquaintances on the internet -- all the people you're curious about, but not close enough with to actually stay in touch.
Honestly, even with that limited usage, Facebook still has a lot of negatives:
But then, on Friday, I experienced one of the true joys of life . . . and it was all thanks to Facebook! I found myself at the center of the "web-of-life".
Full disclosure: I don't know if a "web-of-life" is a real thing or not--I just made up the name right now-- but I know they happen, and I know they're rare. They usually happen at big events, like at funerals.
A web-of-life is when all of those old acquaintances -- the countless people who fill our everyday lives --go out of their way to express their gratitude, encouragement, and support. They go out of their way to express their love.
It happened for me on Friday. That's when I announced the release date for my book. That post was subsequently flooded with "likes" and "loves" and comments. I got comments from my wife's relatives across the country. I got likes from my ex-teachers and comments from families who go to the same martial arts school with me. I got a phone call from a colleague, and a text message from an old youth leader. I was contacted by friends of friends who I've only met twice. I got messages from ex-students (one from New Jersey and one from North Carolina). The whole experience was humbling.
And at the end of the day what I realized was it had nothing to do with my book. None of those people cared about the book! They were all writing because they cared about me. In that one post I could look back and see the threads of my life -- the countless people who have filled my days. It was a gift -- a gift from Facebook.
So this week, I wanted to use this space to say "thank you" to all my Facebook friends (even the liars and the trolls). Friday was a celebration that I will carry with me for a very long time. Thank you, thank you, thank you.