Don Your Way column: Facebook has the power to do some good

Darren Burke thinks Facebook has the power to do some good.
Darren Burke thinks Facebook has the power to do some good.

Seeing as that it apparently has 2.2 billion users, chances are that a good majority of you reading this will have a Facebook account.

Young or old and whether we like it or not, social media is now a huge and ever increasing part of our lives.

In recent years, Facebook has become an essential part of my job.

It is a place where journalists can find stories, photos, information and much, much more.

But I’m not here to talk about all that or all the data mining accusations currently being levelled at the tech giant.

I’ve long had a love/hate affair with what, I gather, some people call “Facey” or FB (although I can’t count myself among them).

When it was first rolled out, I can recall the stern memos being flung around at work warning us away from it and limiting it to personal and non-work hours, lest we waste time reading up on the tittle tattle and gossip from our friends.

Now, as I’ve already said, it’s a huge part of the working day and I tend to have the page open on a permanent basis five days a week.

The downside of that is that I am subjected to a heck of a lot of pictures of people’s dinners, those inspirational quote things, attention seeking status updates illiciting the much-mimicked “u ok hun?” response, posts demanding I share something (if I think it’s a disgrace) and a lot of other chaff that doesn’t add a great deal to my knowledge of friends and acquaintances.

There are many times I’d happily steer well clear when arguments between friends with differing viewpoints are flying around (Brexit, anyone?), when cryptic statuses clearly aimed at an individual are doing the rounds, or the minefield that is altering your relationship status rears its ugly head.

I’ll hold my hands up and admit to pretty much all of the above at some times.

But all the bad is outweighed by the fun parts.

The humorous viral clips that you might not otherwise see, the amusing incidents in day to day life which, although you may not even have been there, can still raise a smile from afar and it is always good to see friends’ family snaps of happy moments - weddings, newborn babies, parties, that kind of thing.

Of course, like any kind of social media, it can also become a breeding ground for trolls and hate and, sadly, I’ve experienced by fair share of that too.

But I love the fact that it allows me to see what my friends and relatives are up to without the issue of having to dash off an email or pick up the phone or write a letter (remember those?)

We’re given a snapshot of that person’s life at that moment in time - and of course, it’s also there for all eternity. Anyone else totally bewildered by what their status is seven years down the line?

There’s no escaping it, so you might as well embrace it.

Just be kind and don’t let the good be overtaken by the bad.