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Broadening connections with Facebook

Created date

February 23rd, 2010
If Janice Guilbault wants to know what her ten grandchildren are up to or how the family reunion planning is coming along, she logs onto Facebook. Guilbault, who lives at Brooksby Village, is one of 350 million active members of Facebook, a social networking website. Facebook users create profile pages with photos and information about themselves that they can share with the people they accept as friends through the website. I think it broadens your world a little bit, Guilbault says. I know what my kids and my grandkids are doing, way more than I would if I wasn t on Facebook. I feel more connected. Her family even created a Facebook group to keep in touch as they make preparations for an upcoming reunion. Guilbault joined last year on advice from her children, who said it was a great way to keep in touch with the grandchildren, spread out across Massachusetts, Maine, and North Carolina. Since then, her friend list has grown to include people she met while in London and a friend she reconnected with after about 20 years. Guilbault logs in each day for about 10 or 15 minutes total to peruse the pages of the people she knows and play Scrabble with family members. Facebook users can add games to their pages and add short status updates, letting friends know what they re doing at any given time.

From everyday to special occasions

Joan McGrath, who lives at Linden Ponds, is also an avid Facebook user. One of her 11 grandchildren set her up on the website, which she also uses to stay in touch with her 28 nieces and nephews. Through Facebook, friends and family welcomed McGrath home after a trip to Iceland, Ireland, and France last fall. When a family member passed away, many offered condolences through the website, and on McGrath s birthday, they showered her with well wishes. It was so wonderful I love Facebook, she says. They all sent me regards and they probably wouldn t have known it was my birthday. (Facebook users are reminded of their friends birthdays.) McGrath admits she thought Facebook was stupid at first, but she soon changed her mind. She says it s even easier to use than e-mail. Go on with someone so they can show you what it s all about, McGrath suggests to those who have considered giving it a try. Adds Guilbault: Jump in and do it; you can do it as much or as little as you want.