Did anyone else have, like, a really communal experience on Halloween? Not being a religious or family-get-together-heavy holiday (ie one parent at least has to stay home and be on candy duty), a lot of my social network were online. In the days of yore when we lived with our extended families and knew all our neighbours, that might not have mattered so much (and also would have been impossible, because the days of yore didn’t have the internet). But the solo urban existence we’ve got going now can be kind of isolating. Facebook broke down that barrier for me this year.
There were running commentaries on chocolate consumption (of both the shameful adult and hyper 6-year-old varieties), speculation on how many kids were in each area, and shared strategies on making the candy last til they got to your house. I sent a frantic wall post to my hopefully-bored-in-line-and-checking-his-phone husband who was out getting more candy, detailing the urgency of the situation. Photo reports of people who left boxes of treats & honour system instructions poured in, along with speculation as to why they opted for this DIY delivery system (are they out? lazy? afraid of swine flu?). My daughter’s Facebook profile kept people up to date on the cuteness of her bee costume, when exactly it got covered in barf, and handled a quick response for photos of said barfy cuteness. Indeed the fibre optic cable was humming all night with uploads of cute fuzzy children from all areas of the city. We celebrated Halloween night together.
When people say they don’t really use Facebook, my jaw drops in amazement. I can’t understand not seeing the value in reaching out to people and getting to know them better. I wouldn’t have had nearly the fun I did on Halloween without all these other trapped-at-home parents to share it with. And the diversity of the conversation – all over town, reports from the country, childhood stories; told by bosses and high school friends and university professors and cool musicians, is only possible on the network created by Facebook. I freakin’ love the ambient shared experiences it’s capable of facilitating. Society is better for this.
(Not to sully the experience by dragging marketing into it, but this kind of relationship building among “neighbours” is the foundation for the social media marketplace. Do you know how many times I said “Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups” on Facebook? Like 10 000. Hershey, me and my 376 Twitter followers welcome sponsorship discussions).