Thursday, May 28, 2009

My first year on Facebook

One year ago, I was in the middle of my second U.S. Senate campaign. I had successfully won the primary a couple of months earlier and was in the process of getting ready for the summer swing through the state. Then I received an interesting e-mail from a lady in South Carolina.

Her name was Nancy Lockhart. She was a die-hard Obama supporter and had come across my campaign web site while surfing the Internet. She e-mailed me with an interesting proposition: join Facebook. Now I had heard of Facebook, but I was under the impression it was only for college students. I had created a MySpace page in the 2006 campaign and it did not take off like I had wanted to, so I was not immediately sold on putting a profile on another social networking site, especially to a limited audience.

Nancy persisted and on May 28, 2008, I was a member of the Facebook community. It was one of the best things that has ever happened to me politically and personally. I was able to use the network to reach out to people throughout the state to tout my candidacy, which was my primary purpose, but I ended up doing so much more.

I connected with old high school classmates, old college classmates, ex-girlfriends, relatives and a few celebrities here and there. More importantly, I met the love of my life on Facebook. Who would have known that an innocent compliment on the Honesty Box application would have led to me finding true love again. I had been active on the online dating sites since my divorce in 2003 and met many great women, but it was the poetry of Lady G that won my heart.

Meanwhile as that romance blossomed, my Facebook network grew rapidly. So much so that now I have two profile pages as that the limit for friends on Facebook is 5,000 and I now have over 6,000 friends. Which reminds me, my journey has not been totally smooth. My initial profile page was deleted, based on too much networking, especially since I was fast approaching my friend limit, which I documented in an earlier blog. Fortunately, it was re-instated and I was able to maintain my original network and then expand on it.

I have had fun trying to spark debate on Facebook with my questions to my friends concerning the issues of the day and just sharing my thoughts with the world. I may have fallen into the trap of joining too many groups and signing up for too many applications, but in the end it helped me reach out to folks I never would have had the chance to meet otherwise.

It was always interesting when people would stop me and say "don't I know you? I think I saw you on TV." Now people stop me and say, "I'm your friend on Facebook." That is so cool. Yes, I said cool, because I think it is cool to be connected.


The poet John Dunne once wrote that "no man is an island", and Facebook makes that a true statement. Where else could I be friends with Ms. Olympias and U. S. Congressmen? Where else could I have intellectual discussions with Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and others of all political stripes?

I have enjoyed my time on Facebook and I hope that this next year will be as fascinating and entertaining as this one. I guess nothing can top finding your true love, but I am sure that the continued journey on Facebook will be exciting nonetheless.

Thanks to all of my friends on Facebook, you have made this experience so great. I look forward to my second anniversary with you all.