I held out for a long time. Years, even. I resisted MySpace, scoffed at Friendster and was stalwart in my conviction that Facebook was not something I needed in my life. “Why do I need Facebook to tell me what my friends are up to,” I reasoned, “when I talk to them all the time?” Even though my loved ones were scattered around the country, we did a pretty good job of staying in touch. Facebook just seemed like a burden, another thing to keep up with, a way for unwanted folks from high school to find me and be a voyeur into my life.

My parents joined Facebook. Aunts and uncles. Little cousins. My grandma. Yes, my grandma joined Facebook before I did. And still I held out.

Of course I did miss out on certain things. Invites sent out over Facebook didn’t make it my way, announcements were missed, birthdays (both mine and others) forgotten. A small price to pay, I felt, for attempting to maintain real life, not just cyber, connections.

But then my husband and I decided to move to Israel. Far away. A twelve-hour flight, seven hours in the future, an ocean apart and a world away. “Will you finally join Facebook?” my friends pleaded. One day while we were packing I looked over and my husband had created a profile for me. “It’s time,” he said, and handed me the computer. I squirmed in my seat as I picked out a profile picture and sent my first friend request.

Within hours word had gotten out and all of my closest friends were now my friends on the internet too. They commented, “it’s about time!” and “welcome to the twenty-first century!” It was overwhelming. But it was nice too.

Fast forward one year (yes, it has been almost exactly one year) and I am an enthusiastic, proficient Facebook user. I’ll come out and say it: I love Facebook. I visit daily, post pictures of every trip and outing, leave links to interesting articles and see what everyone else is up to. I even have a professional Facebook page. And as a result, even though I am far away I feel incredibly close – to friends and family in New York, DC, New Orleans, California, Seattle, Canada, and beyond.

And I think it helps them feel close to me as well. One aunt emailed me just to let me know she read all my posts, even though she rarely left a comment. “Really love the Facebook updates (yes, I am a lurker). What a wonderful adventure for you both.” This made me very, very happy.

Now when we come home it doesn’t feel as though it’s been a year since I’ve seen people. It feels like it was yesterday. There’s still catching up to do, but it’s more informed, allows us more time to get into the details, the things too big for Facebook. So here I am, a proud Facebook convert, using it the way I believe it was meant to be used: as a tool for friends, family, loved ones to stay in touch when life makes that difficult.