Communicating with friends from all around the world, some I know very well in person, many of whom I have never met, is now just part of my life… and has been for ten years! Yes, ten years ago today I signed up to Facebook. it has changed enormously, and so have I!
I looked at my ‘friends’ list, which no doubt is quite short compared to a lot of people, but really actually did seem quite long… except when I break it down into sections it has a different perspective… because the word ‘friends’ on Facebook is not the same as in the actual world; a lot of people who aren’t on Facebook and are mistrustful of it, don’t quite understand how it works – and how it can work in different ways according to how you need it.
So… my Facebook friends:
- actual real friends, real people I know in my actual life, everyday sort of friends; why might I need to have them on Facebook if I know them and see them regularly? Well, actually maybe I don’t see them regularly – for example, my friend who lives in Coventry – I maybe see her a few times a year, but we are in constant contact! Ditto my dear Dutch friends – we usually only meet once a year so it is great to be able to see photos of what they have been doing, and keep up with their news!
- old friends – two sorts of old friends – those who I have kept in touch with by phone or letter and the occasional get-together, friends who live far away – and those who I was close to in the past, lost touch with and have been reunited by social media.
- acquaintances who for one reason or another I still keep in contact with
- people I have met through a shared interest
- people I used to work with, and also, wonderfully, people I used to teach who still like to keep in touch.
- and then the biggest group, other people who follow my favourite band, the Mavericks!! Some of these I have met at gigs, some live in distant countries; some I am in closer contact with than others, but really we are like a family, some more connected than others!
- bloggers – other people who write blogs, but have become ‘friends’ through Facebook
- writing – other writers, other writing groups, people in my own writing groups
- interest groups – for me the main one is music and musicians, but also photography, art, Buddhism, Ireland, history and archaeology, places I used to live or have vested (especially Tasmania, Iceland and Ireland)
- news and media people
- and last of all, people I have just come across on Facebook, who are interesting and connect in some way
I have been through my list, long as it is, and there are only a couple of people who I have no actual idea how they came to be there…