Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Pope and Facebook

This is a few weeks old, but Pope Benedict XVI issued a statement about Facebook.

Yeah, that's just weird on its own. Who asked the Pope about Facebook? Which one of his minions said, "Hey, Bennie, you gotta comment on this Facebook thing. Obama knows all about it and so should you. You wanna reach the kids, you know. No, not that way. What's that? No, you shouldn't update your status in Latin. Anyway, the world is waiting, so I prepared this brief."

It's a pretty innocuous statement, and it doesn't really say anything that people haven't heard, but this familiar-sounding excerpt stands out: "But he also warns that "obsessive" virtual socializing can isolate people from real interaction and deepen the digital divide by excluding those already marginalized."

I don't know about those of you who do the Facebook thing too, but I gotta say the exact opposite happens. I've gotten in touch with old friends that I miss a ton. Learned that some folks I didn't know so well are surprisingly witty, hilarious, thoughtful and I consider them real friends now.

If anything, I'll see more of these people now in my travels. I attend more events. I know what's going on in people's lives, and that means a lot to me.

A friend of my said this, though I'm paraphrasing: "I love hitting Facebook first thing in the morning. Grab my coffee and read my personal newspaper, filled with news about the people that matter to me."

For me, it's more like reading the paper in the evening with a beer in hand, but the sentiment stays the same.