I’m not a Facebook hater. I have my own Facebook page, filled with photos and friends and little sayings and comics that I pick up off of other Facebook pages. I enjoy reading my friends’ statuses and occasionally, I’ll post a status of my own.
Facebook has also allowed me to get back in touch with some of my older friends who I haven’t seen since we were in high school together, elementary school together , or just growing up on the same street. It’s nice to be able to catch up on them, their families, and our mutual friends and past.
Of course, there are those that abuse Facebook. I’m not just talking about all the little scams where they want you to like something so some little child can have an operation. There are also those who use Facebook to espouse on and expose us to their own political views. Then there are the ones who will basically flood their own page with pictures and comics pulled off of other sites which then flood my page as their statuses. There is nothing like opening my page and seeing status after status after status, all by the same person.
Facebook does allow me to either take these people off my friends list, or block them from posting anything on my page, but more often than not, the political viewpoints and the endless comics are being posted by friends of mine, and I’d hate to take them off or block them for fear of missing something that might actually be important, like a death or illness in their family, or a happy occasion like an impending marriage or birth.
But all of the above are just my own little personal pet peeves about things that show up on my own page. I had been wondering if, in the grand scheme of things, Facebook had any real redeeming value for the community as a whole?
That question was answered with a resounding “Yes!” last Wednesday afternoon when those bad and potentially damaging storms rolled through Upson County. The Upson Emergency Management Agency (EMA) now has its own Facebook page, thanks to new director Martha Anne McCarty, and that page proved the value of Facebook. When the storms approached and the National Weather Service started issuing warnings, the weather sirens throughout the county started going off. We keep a scanner in the office, and I tuned it to the weather band to listen to the automated weather alerts. I also pulled up weather maps from Atlanta television stations and the weather channel to see where the storms were.
But almost quicker than any of those ways to find out what was happening, my Facebook page started receiving posts from Upson EMA, letting me know clearly and concisely what was happening, what I should do, and how long the alerts would be in effect. I found those status updates more educational and informative than all the other sirens, alerts and maps I mentioned earlier.
I’m definitely not knocking the weather sirens, the National Weather Service alerts, or the weather maps that can be found during such times of bad weather. They all come in handy. But the notices from Upson EMA on Facebook are a new source that I will be turning to first in the future. My thanks to Martha Anne McCarty and her forethought to have an EMA Facebook page where we can find needed information and where we can get up to date status alerts from. In my opinion, thanks to Martha Ann, Facebook finally has some redeeming value.