I puzzled for a bit about why I hadn't been printing my pictures and displaying them. Then it occurred to me. It was at least in part because of Facebook.
A little history first: I was against Facebook when my husband joined back in 2006. I didn't know a lot about it but assumed it was a lot like those sites that put you back in touch with everyone you went to high school with that were popular at the time. (Classmates.com, I think one was called. No, thank you.) Then I started looking at his page. My older brother was there. So was a good friend from my hometown. So after about a month, I joined. I was surprised by how quickly people from my past popped up, but even more surprised by how many people who are a part of my life now friend requested me.
I quickly was in touch with cousins who I had grown up with but now lived in different states, my teaching assistant from a previous school, and one of my best childhood friend who lives several hundred miles away. Pretty soon, my mom and my aunt were my "friends" as well as a former boss. I saw pictures of their kids, got to hear anecdotes about their lives, and got to share my own life in a way that I couldn't before this new fangled invention.
It's not that there weren't bumps and adjustments along the way, because there were. An all-out political war was waged one summer (mostly private) between myself and some members of my family when some articles and posts were shared. Comments were made. But guess what? We got past it. Just like in real life. Then there were a few people who irritated me on a daily basis. Just like in real life. I decided their online presence wasn't necessary in my life. Just like in real life. There were a few who "unfriended" me. I'm a big girl. I got over it. Just like in real life.
I hear people complain all the time about Facebook. They complain about how they don't care what people had for dinner or when they went to the gym, about how they hate the way the format keeps changing, how their privacy is being invaded, how they hate what this person posted, how they hate all the selfies. Say whatever you want. I will tell you this. I love Facebook. It's not perfect. It's all in how you use it - just like most other things. Here are just a few things I love about it: It's free. It's put me in touch with family that I wish lived closer but don't. It's let me get to know people who live close by better. It lets me share how my kids are growing up with relatives we don't see as often as we'd like. It's let me know when sales at my favorite stores are going on. It tells me when there are events I want to attend. It's shown me different places to visit on vacation. It helped me to get people to read my blog. It let me start a reading group that's grown beyond what I thought it would be. And best of all, it's become an online journal for me.
You see, I wasn't printing out my pictures regularly anymore because I would go back and look at my Facebook page instead whenever I wanted to feel happy and review what I had been thinking and what my family had been up to for the last couple of months.
I read Gretchen Rubin's two books, The Happiness Project and Happier At Home, this summer. One of the things she suggests to promote happiness is keeping a one sentence a day journal. This intrigued me. I tried it for a bit and didn't like it. I kept trying to come up with some profound and all encompassing sentence for each day which was really frustrating. That's because it's in the details that we realize the profound. I was already sharing minute details on Facebook without even thinking about it. Okay, so I don't post every day. Sometimes, I post more than once a day. And sometimes it's more than one sentence. But it's close enough to have the same effect.
The online version is all fine and good, but I really still am a book kind of a person. I love my Kindle but still appreciate a physical book. I love photo albums and reading old stuff I've written. Just having my story online wasn't quite satisfying enough. Then Facebook came through again. In a suggested ad, I read about My Social Book. Before I go on, let me just say this is NOT a blog post sponsored by them, although it may sound like one.
My Social Book will make you a physical book of your Facebook posts, pictures, friends' comments, and all kinds of other Facebook-y things. You can choose the time frame and what you want included. They recently ran a special of 30% off and free shipping (and I knew this because I had "liked" their page, thanks again, FB), and I decided to try it. I haven't made a photo book on Shutterfly or Walgreen's in years simply because it took too much time to download all the pictures, decide on the background and layout, and then if you wanted any words (very important to me), you had to think about what to say about each particular picture or occasion. It's hard to go back to the time frame in old pictures and come up with something to say that doesn't sound canned. I didn't have to do any of that with My Social Book because I'd already done it as I posted things throughout the year.
I decided to create a book from the first of January 2013 to the first of January 2014. It broke my year down month by month. Here are few shots of my book.
This is the beginning of the January section. It chose a few of my most "liked" pictures and my most "liked" status for the beginning of each month.
In each month's section were my pictures and statuses from that month and also the comments of my friends. These two pages show some of the pictures of the Daddy/Daughter dance my daughter and husband attended that month.
Here are two of the pages from when I was posting about our July trip to St. Louis last year. I did print these pictures out, but they had yet to make it into a photo book. Until now.
Something I really liked was that things that I had forgotten about were in the book. The details! Oh, the sweet details! This is page from when a friend of mine gave me a chocolate bear because of this blog post that I shared on my blog's Facebook page. Seeing it made me smile all over again.
Highlighted pictures for June: a picture from my wedding day I shared on my anniversary, my daughter with the basket she made, my husband and kids on Father's Day, and my sister-in-law with my daughter after her dance recital
The page below showed a meme I had shared that made me laugh. I loved that not only does the book have the photographs I took but the quotes and memes I shared that were relevant to me for one reason or another. There are also pictures of a family night when we played Monopoly Jr. on these pages.
Look, it's all my Facebook friends! And the bear again! 2013 was the Year of the Bear for me. It will now be forever immortalized. I wouldn't have even had a picture of a bear in my regular photographs unless I saw one in a forest and happened to have my camera. Not likely. That would have been a real shame, because that bear was important to me.
And finally, at the back, "The Most Liked Pictures!"
By the way, for the next three days, My Social Book is offering 60% off. I may or may not have gone back to order the 2012-2013 year.
I know this may not be for everyone. Again, it's all in how you use it. You may not want to see the memes I think are funny or the blueberry cobbler I made for dessert. Great! I'm really not posting it just for you. I might ask you though, what are you doing on Facebook anyway if you don't care about details? It's not a Mensa convention. It's a social network. If you don't want to see it, don't check in with me. Just like in real life! Isn't that great? But if you do care about the details of my life, it means you really are my friend. Just like in real life. For me, life is in the details. What better way to document them?