You never forget your first time…

And for me, my first time was July 23, 2009.

Yeah, it was later than most people’s “first times” but hey… I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it.

Let me explain.

I’ve been through several social media platforms in my lifetime, and many of them have either held great success, or were complete abject failures.  I spent a year on MySpace and quit; it wasn’t worth my time.  I still think that LinkedIn is nothing but a spambot generator, and the only reason I’m still on reddit is to say that I have a love-hate relationship with the site.

On July 23, 2009, I joined Facebook.  I remember that day well.  No I don’t.  You try to remember July 23, 2009.   I do remember, however, that I was a member of the Premier Basketball League’s internal staff, and that on that day, I received ten different “Please join Facebook” messages from PBL staffers and players.  Ten different requests on the same day.  And trust me, when you get requests from Kenyon Gamble and Sam Carey and Ian McCarthy and Chris Iversen, you listen.

Okay.  Is “chuckthewriter” taken on Facebook?

No it wasn’t.

Good.  I took it.

And on that day, I made my first Facebook post.

Here’s a screen shot of those very words.


Okay, it’s not on the same level as “It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen,” but it was a start.

Man oh man, how long ago was that… over seven and a half years ago.

I could immediately see that my first Facebook friends were basketball-related – members of the PBL, former Albany Patroons players and fans and cheerleaders, etc.

Then came the rest of my Facebook connections and alliances.

  • My Times Union blog readers.
  • Times Union bloggers, past and present.
  • Band members and singers.
  • Fellow photographers.
  • Street Academy of Albany alumni.
  • Hamilton College alumni.
  • Trivia teams.
  • Trivia hosts.
  • Trivia opponents.
  • People who inspire me.
  • People who challenge me.
  • People who confront me.
  • People who are no longer here, but I’ve left their page still on my feed.
  • People who I thought were gone.
  • People from the other side of the world.
  • People from the other side of the political spectrum.
  • People.

I looked through the photo galleries.  I looked through the “liked this page” feeds.  Truly, it was a personal moment to reflect.

And then I found this little nugget.

It was a post from my pre-Times Union blog, way back when I was a blogspot independent blogger.  The link is here.  But I can also share here.

Normally, when I received invitations to join Facebook, I dismissed them as unrequested spam – especially when it was tagged as “your friend wants you to join…” without mentioning who my “friend” was.

Be that as it may, today was a surprise. I received ten different facebook requests – and all of them came from people I knew from working with the Premier Basketball League.

Ten people from the PBL – that can’t be a coincidence.

So I decided – what the hell – let’s give Facebook a trial run. Worst thing that could happen – I shut it off in six months.

But suddenly I realized that there were a tonload of PBL people on the board – owners and coaches and players and fans. And some of them even had my photographs on their homepage (and I know you’ve got my photo on your profile, Sam Carey! 🙂 )!

One of the reasons I didn’t initially join Facebook was because of the horrible experiences I had with MySpace. I always felt like MySpace was designed for the X-generation and not for the baby boomers like me. So I’m going to keep an eye on things regarding Facebook. And I’m going to leave it to just “friend” my professional and sports contacts.

But I swear on a stack of floppy discs … I ain’t going to join twitter. Forget that.

Manchester Millrats v Rochester Razorsharks 2009 Playoffs Game 2
Action Under the Basket. Nikon D70 camera, Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

The reference to “Sam Carey” was to one of the basketball players who I “Facebook friended” in that initial signup.  This picture was on his Facebook wall for the longest time.  He’s one of the two Manchester Millrats (in black) watching as the Rochester RazorSharks (in white) score on a layup.

Sam Carey passed away in 2010.  He’s still missed today.  Truly.

Over time, I found Facebook to have highs and lows.  The highs included reconnecting with people for whom our paths have drifted.  The highs included sharing great moments and memories and achievements and condolences.  The lows included what appears to  be a two-plus year addiction to Candy Crush Saga.  Man, I’m glad I kicked THAT nasty habit.

Then again, I’ve also found Facebook’s most powerful weapon to be its blocking feature.  Family members who have hurt me in the past?  Blocked.  Ex-friends who used social media sites to harass and abuse me?  Blocked.  People who’ve suggested that I should kill myself with razor blades and bath salts, so that I could die smelling like lavender?  Blocked like a broken clock.

It’s funny that I remember this today.  Today of all days.  It’s not an anniversary, it’s not anything commemorative.

I think the only reason I wanted to do this – maybe it’s because I just felt very personally reflective, and stated parsing through my old Facebook account.  And I remembered those along the journey.  And I remembered those with whom our journey parted.

A lot of memories.  A whole lot of memories.

Oh yeah, and that blog post from 2009.

That one sentence at the end of an old blog post.

“But I swear on a stack of floppy discs … I ain’t going to join twitter. Forget that.

Yeah, that resolution lasted at least until 2011.  Hee.