Facebook (off topic)

pelarg@aol.com pelarg@aol.com
Wed, 16 Oct 2013 15:36:48 PDT

I'd have to agree with Ina, Facebook is useful in some ways.  It is especially useful for those who want to make new plant connections and find out new information or learn about plants they have not seen before.  Being on FB does not, nor should it, preclude actual social interaction, in fact some of the groups have periodic meetups, just recently there was one at the NYBG where I got to meet Derick Pitman, who is the US authority on Impatiens spp and just happened to be in NYC that weekend. We had communicated before fb but I never got a chance to meet him in person till the particular fb plant group set up the meetup.  I also got to meet Ruth Clausen, who wrote a book on deer resistant plants, it turns out she lives quite near me and she has been over our house since.  
I also use it to keep in contact with college and other friends and it has allowed me to meet up with some of them when I have been travelling near where they are or here in my area.  True I am not thrilled with FB ever changing policies, but its worth it so far for me, and I do look forward to the photos of interesting plants in the several groups that I belong to.  Its also a great place to ask questions to people with real expertise as well, and sometimes to set up swaps of plant materials.  For those that are not familiar with it, there is also a private message option which works like email to let you converse via text with a particular person, so not everything need be "public".  You can even have a three way conversation, as I did with a curator at NYBG and at Kew, it was a fascinating discussion with truly knowledgeable people about a weird Ethiopian plant.  
Probably the worst thing about FB is that it can indeed become addicting (one friend calls it "Methbook") but you just have to control the time spent on it, like any other activity.  Its up to the user to decide how to use it (I personally don't use any "apps" or play any games on it, even if "invited", I know what I want from it and what will just waste my time) in a way that suits their needs.  Ideally it should enhance social interaction not substitute for it (and I do agree some young people do use it as a substitute for actual interaction, and that is detrimental for them, but they don't have to use it that way). 
Ernie DeMarie
Briarcliff Manor, NY Z 7  


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