Just looking back

Rafii H. Ramon / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Facebook’s mission: To make the world more open and connected. Photo: Facebook

I just celebrated my first anniversary in the Kingdom.

It’s true, time flies when you’re having fun.

It still feels like yesterday when I arrived here, with high hopes and just enough confidence. It wasn’t easy, nothing was ever easy but time has its mysterious ways of making every moment worthwhile and worth it.

. .

Time spent with the right people having the same commitment to life means everything.

I had the choice to stay behind and grow my roots back at home, where I’ve already spent more than two years of my professional life.

But I also had the choice to leave everything and pack whatever I can – not more than 20 kilograms – and fly to an unknown kingdom.

What’s scarier than touching down in the Kingdom of Wonder — having so much things to wonder about? Doubts? Uncertainties? And whatnots?

But as days and weeks turn to months, I have seen changes in both gradual and abrupt ways.

. .

Ironically, as I have mentioned in my Christmas article last year, distance has connected me and reconnected me back to certain people in my life. On the downside, some bridges were burnt and some roads closed.

But that’s life.

Facebook at 15

This year, Facebook celebrates its 15th year since creation. Mark Zuckerberg’s baby is a decade and a half old now.

In one article online, it says after 15 years of Facebook’s existence it has gained more followers than Christianity. With 2.32 billion monthly users, Facebook’s audience tops the world’s roughly 2.3 billion Christians (the number of Christians in 2015).

. .

But we’re not talking about religion here. Chill.

Facebook team, and Mark Zuckerberg himself, have made it a priority to bring “the world closer together”. And basing it in my case, his team kept their promise.

February 4th, marks the 15th anniversary of the website once known as Thefacebook.com.

It has come a long, long way.

In an article published by theatlantic.com, there it was compared to the wizarding world of Harry Potter.

“Drinking the blood of a unicorn will keep anyone alive, even if you are an inch from death.

But survival comes at a terrible price: You will have but a half-life, a cursed life, from the moment the blood touches your lips, the centaur Firenze explains to Harry.

Facebook is unicorn blood, and it has touched the metaphorical lips of billions of relationships.”

The article added, “The social network has been attempting to absorb every facet of existence formerly untouched by its grasping fingers: dating, commerce, etc. But its central feature remains what it has always been – a digital Rolodex of everyone you know and everything those people have ever shared on their page. Your “friends.” Some of these people are actually your friends, of course. And some of them are old Little League teammates, or people you took one class with in college, or fourth cousins you’ve never met but found on ancestry.com.”

Facebook’s purpose

Not all will nod their heads but Facebook has, for better and for worse, forever changed how people connect. And not just our personal connections, it has greatly changed how businesses make money, how politicians seize power, and how information flows across communities and cultures.

It’s where grannies share pictures of their grandkids and where politically-motivated trolls wage cyberwar against other parties pre and post election times. It’s how volunteers raise money for calamity victims.

Speaking personally, Facebook is where I keep track of my family and friends at home. Where I repost memories of family events, (previous) company stints and random meet-ups with old friends. It’s not just about riding a trip down the memory lane, it’s where also where I work. And where I (rarely) post updates of my present life events here in the Kingdom.

Facebook, after all, is a friend connecting us to a whole bunch of close, acquaintance, work, hobby, travel, whatever label for friends we have. It connects us to the rest of the world.

However, going back to the promise Zuckerberg and his team managed to keep, of course it has its downside: privacy issues, political and election related cases and all other relevant and irrelevant matters. But come on, all they want is to reconnect us to the ties we’ve lost along the way. And strengthen those we still have.

As I turned one year here, it’s safe to say Facebook kept its promise to me. And its people has helped me go through my every day.

After all, we all would agree that there’s a sort of shared understanding that connecting with people you’ve lost touch with is, at least in part, what Facebook is for.

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