Facebook for family emergencies
Posted by Meg Bear on November 24, 2008
Late last week my uncle had a stroke. For those of you familiar with stroke, there are a lot more questions than answers initially, so I have no additional information to share on that front. The point of this post is the surprising role of Facebook.
As the youngest, my role in family-crisis-response is pretty lame. Receive phone calls, offer help that is refused, that sort of thing. It is my sister who has the actual work of talking on the phone for hours giving updates. Possibly it is penance for hogging the phone during our junior high years but I digress.
On Saturday morning, she called me asking for contact information for a cousin that lives in the south bay that I didn’t have. It seems that directory assistance had their information blocked. I had address information (as part of my general belief that no one can enjoy their holidays without photo cards of my children) but no phone or email. I did remember that her son had a website at one point, so I went Googling for answers.
Now the “cousin” I was googling is technically a second-third-cousin-twice-removed (or something like that). We share common great-grandparents who we have never met. But his mother, is my uncles actual cousin, you know the kind you spend every family holiday with growing up.
Anyway, I sit down intending to do real investigative work and instead my search finds him on Facebook as the third hit in the list. Not only that, it turns out you can send email to someone on Facebook before you even get a “Friend” acknowledgement. Sweet.
So within 20 minutes, I not only had two new friends (his mom is there too), I had a text message with his mothers phone number and a call from her for which I had the opportunity to say “hey, nice to hear from you, haven’t seen you in ages, your cousin is in the hospital“. Yup, I’m all about the soft delivery of information.
So, for all my deflecting of serious emotion with humor here, I am thankful to Facebook for helping me and my family out this weekend. I am now rethinking my privacy settings to make myself searchable from google. Sure, I might have some spam I need to delete but maybe, just maybe, there is a message out there I would want to get in. You never know.