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Elinor Florence (Company name) Elinor Florence

Ten Reasons I (Still) Love Facebook

People often have mixed feelings about this social media behemoth, but I’m still one of its biggest fans – and here are my top ten reasons to love Facebook.

I Love Facebook graphic on iPad

1. Facebook is Free!

These days we are paying for telephone, internet, cable, streaming services, podcasts, newsletters, and so much more.

Most social media platforms are free to the user, but Facebook is still the most popular one in the world.

Who knows? At the rate things are changing, even Facebook might be obsolete in a year or two. But for now, you get the biggest bang for your free buck here.

Facebook 2023 User Stats

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2. Stay in Touch With Family

If you’re like me, you have a whole whack of relatives who might not otherwise communicate except for the annual Christmas card, if that.

But now, I see photos of them almost every day – and I especially love seeing what all their kids are doing. It’s a great way to feel connected to your extended family. This is my cousin Laurie Light and her delightful 87-year-old mother, Meriel Light, both of Calgary, Alberta.

Laurie Light and her mother, Meriel Light, both of Calgary

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3. Connect with Old Friends

Through Facebook, I have found former school friends, university buddies, and co-workers. It’s been fascinating to find out what they have done in the decades since we met, and learn about their lives today.

I attended a one-room country school at Brada, Saskatchewan (eight grades, one teacher) with Donna Bujnowski, who now lives on Vancouver Island – sixty-plus years ago!

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4. Make New Friends

I have formed online friendships with people who have common interests, be it prairie life, vintage collections, or reading.

For example, this lovely lady named Mary Drew of Spokane, Washington read my wartime novel, and we met in person to have tea at the Davenport Hotel. Through her, I have also made two or three more reading friends.

Elinor Florence and Mary Drew, Davenport Hotel

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5. Travel by Armchair

Not only do I love seeing where people are travelling and what they are doing, but I have picked up some valuable travel tips along the way. My talented photographer friend, Ian Stewart of Kelowna, BC, shared photos of his recent safari to Uganda.

Gorilla mother and baby in Uganda, Photo by Ian Stewart

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6. Research Your Interests

There are hundreds of museums and history groups on Facebook. Through them I have found subject matter experts who were able to advise me on details I needed for my books — e.g. the technical specifications of the mighty Lancaster bomber.

Bomber Command Museum, Nanton, Alberta

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7. Learn About Events

Almost every public event now has a dedicated Facebook page and that’s where I go when I want to know when and where something is happening.

All my book events are posted on Facebook, and many people turn up because that’s where they found out about me.

This is a real blessing for charities that don’t have the funds to advertise.

And speaking of events, you can join a Zoom meeting at 1 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time on Sunday, June 25, 2023 when I interview Ellen Keith, best-selling author of The Dutch Wife and The Dutch Orphan, on behalf of the St. Albert Public Library’s annual STARFest, a meeting of minds between authors and readers. See the details below, or visit this Facebook page STARFest.

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8. Follow Local Businesses

Facebook has been an incredible boon to small independent businesses who have established an online presence for free. I visit their Facebook profiles if I want to know their locations, business hours, or telephone numbers.

My Métis friend Kate Hagstrom sews and sells ribbon skirts through her Facebook page titled Wild and Untamed Studio. Aren’t they just adorable?

Métis ribbon skirts by Kate Hagstrom, Wild and Untamed Studio

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9. Join Public Groups

You can join most special interest groups on Facebook, even private ones. One of my favourites is Old Saskatchewan, a very large and active group (87,000 members and counting) where people post the most amazing vintage photographs of life on the prairies in the early days.

Where else would you find a photo of this crazy sport called Auto Polo, played in Saskatchewan for about ten years in the early 1900s and later abandoned because it was too expensive to keep replacing the autos?

I Love Facebook, Auto Polo historic sport

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10. You Have Control

People get frustrated with Facebook when they receive advertisements and friend requests from strangers, but you have access to an extensive set of controls that will screen out almost anything.

Go to your little photo on the top right, and click on Settings & Privacy. You can decide what you want to see, and what you want others to see.

I Love Facebook, maintain your privacy

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My Facebook Tips

Facebook does not show everything to everybody. If you wonder why your friend hasn’t been posting lately, chances are that Facebook is no longer showing you her posts because you have not interacted with her. To ensure that you continue to see her posts, you must Like or Comment or Share them regularly.

Choose your favourite friends. To ensure that you ALWAYS see someone’s posts, Facebook gives you the option to choose your 30 favourite friends. Click on your own little photo on the top right, then Settings and Privacy, and then Feed, and then Favorites. You will see a list of your friends and you can mark which 30 you want to see ALL the time. You can update these any time.

Don’t copy and paste anything. Requests to copy and paste are from robots trying to access your friend list. It is, however, fine to share any posts (including mine) that you think others might enjoy.

At some point, you may get hacked. That’s when your profile gets cloned by a robot that sends out friend requests to people who are already your friends. There’s no need for alarm – just change your password and carry on.

Send me a Friend request! Facebook is almost an extension of this newsletter because I post news and information almost every day. For example, you can see such thrilling content there as photos of my vintage tablecloth collection!

I have two separate pages: Elinor Florence, and Elinor Florence-Author. The second is called a Business Page and it works a bit differently. You can’t become my personal Friend there, but you can Follow me there. The content on both pages is almost identical, mainly because I share everything to both pages.

If you want to send me a personal Friend request, please do – but follow up with an email or a private message (that’s PM in Facebook lingo) so I know who you are. And don’t forget to Like or Comment on my posts, or Share them, if you want to keep seeing them — or include my name in your list of 30 Favorites.

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I am the proud recipient of the 2024 Wallace Stegner Grant for the Arts, which will allow me to spend an entire month living and working in the tiny village of Eastend, Saskatchewan!

One year from now, I will be spending the month of June here, at the childhood home of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Wallace Stegner. Located near the Montana border, this is where the prairie meets the badlands (and where dinosaurs once roamed – Eastend has a dinosaur museum, as well).

Wallace Stegner House, Eastend, Saskatchewan

I look forward to writing my newsletter next June from Eastend, when I will tell you more about it.

In the meantime, here is a link to one of the great Western writers: Wallace Stegner. I highly recommend his non-fiction book Wolf Willow, or his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Angle of Repose.

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Dear Friends – Do you enjoy Facebook? Do you engage, or just watch what others are doing? Or do you have another favourite platform? I also use Instagram (because my kids have migrated over there, and because I like seeing everyone’s videos), but Facebook is still my platform of choice.

Yours in friendship, both online and offline — Elinor

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