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How I joined the mob, and what keeps me in

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By Carolyn Risner

My children were the first to blame. It was a way to keep up with them. Then Jenna McKenna, sports editor at the Chiefland Citizen, added to the blame when she introduced me to Mob Wars. A year later, I find that I am an addict–and I don’t want help.

Facebook is my connection to the world.

In the beginning, I spent way too much time saving the rainforest, raising money for St. Jude’s and playing Mob Wars.

Then I discovered Mafia Wars, Pirates, Fashion Wars, Vampire Wars, Special Forces–the list is endless. They’re all simple text-based games where you kill, mutilate and go on top-secret missions, earn money and accrue property.

You build your gang, posse or command with other Facebook addicts and before you know it, three hours of your life–that you can never get back–are gone while the dishes are undone, the laundry is mounting and you realize you haven’t eaten since lunch–and it’s now midnight.

I’m better now.

When Tom gave me an iPhone for Christmas, and I no longer had high speed Internet, the Facebook app was the first one I downloaded. It’s a simplified, streamlined version of the computer setup and is basically used to send e-mails, upload photos and check to see what people are doing.

Through Facebook, I have reconnected with elementary school friends, marching band members from college and former colleagues and interns at newspapers where I have worked.

It’s thrilling to hear from someone you knew in fifth grade, thought of a dozen times and always wondered what happened to them.

It’s pretty cool too to see the guy you had the crush on in high school didn’t age as well as you and you are soooo glad you didn’t end up with him.

It’s sweet to hear from an intern you mentored 10 years ago that you pushed and pushed and perhaps were a little harsh with to only be told today, “Thank you. You made me realize my potential.”

I check the status of Facebook friends over my first cup of coffee, just to see if anything extraordinary happened overnight. Oftentimes, prayers and words of encouragement are needed and Facebook lets you do it instantaneously without taking too much time from your busy day.

My ear is tuned for the ding that signals that someone has sent me a Facebook message.

I enjoy Facebook because in this busy, transient world we live in, it’s nice to know that people you care about also care about you.

And of course because of the games I once played, I have “friends” from China to England to Saudi Arabia and Bermuda. While I may never actually travel to these far off places, through their photos, writings and comments I can visit those places and see them through their eyes and not a tour guide.

Most of my close “real” friends are on and we use it to drop little one or two lines to each other.

Other friends won’t go near it. “I don’t want my personal information out for the entire world to see,” said Ohio-friend Robin.

I concur.

Be smart, I say. Don’t post anything you don’t want the world to know and guard your privacy–phone numbers, address, even your work place.

I still keep up with my children–it’s how I found out Spence got a short, short haircut last week.

I occasionally play a couple of the games but I must admit, once you have over a trillion dollars in the bank, some of the appeal is lost.

I will support great causes like Backing Our Troops or Stopping Breast Cancer.

But most of all I will continue to look for people who have crossed my path and whom I care about enough to wonder where they are now.

Facebook is an addiction and except for causing slothfulness around the house, is harmless–and free, at least for now.

Look for me at. www.facebook.com/carorisner.

My mob can always use new muscle. We need to whack a rat or two.

Carolyn Risner is the editor of the Williston Pioneer. You may reach her at editor@willistonpioneer.com or by calling 528-3343.