Marshall McLuhan’s concept of “the medium is the message” hinted that the way you communicate is as much a message as what you’re saying or typing. And with that said, everyone knows a few people that complain about the ‘medium’ of Facebook, and how it promotes frivolous, meaningless relationships and it’s as or more impersonal than email. Tell that to Emily Liebert, the author of Facebook Fairytales: Modern-Day Miracles to Inspire the Human Spirit. The book consists of a series of nearly thirty touching stories about people, their relationships and their lives… and each story has Facebook in a supporting role.
The book opens with Emily hosting a candid interview with Mark Zuckerberg. In the interview, Mark is matter-of-fact and frank about building the network to help people connect, to make navigation easier and to establish trust. Emily’s focus on the positive sets the tone for the rest of the book, which is a respectful glimpse into the lives of hundreds of people from a varied geography across the globe, and inspires you to possibly re-evaluate the role that technology can play in the way you relate to others.
I found it very difficult to put the book down, and found myself constantly sneaking back to the book to read one more anecdote. Emily has found inspiring stories that cross a series of themes, but most prominently she has found everyday people who find the courage and generosity to help others, sometimes even strangers. The book opens with the story of a woman who finds herself feeling obligated to help a stranger who desperately needs an organ donor. The woman battles with her conscience, her pragmatism, her worried family and her own mortality to come to her decision, and while I won’t ruin the end of this one tale, she acts in such a way to make you remember the meaning of being connected to others.
And just like that, Facebook Fairytales probably explains Facebook’s attraction better than any tutorial or explanation. The book implicitly demonstrates that Facebook, for all its hype, support and criticism, is just an extension of our ability to connect with the hundreds and thousands of people we meet and interact with in our lives. And with this new ability to connect, some people take steps to inspire and help the people around them. If this sounds like something that you may have felt implicitly as you’ve used this new tool, read Facebook Fairytales and you may find a bit of inspiration and courage to help others yourself.