Greetings! Welcome to all my new followers and those who have numbers in their gravatars. I’m never sure if that indicates the year you were born, if you are the 28th Jennifer to sign up for WordPress, or if you are just a lawn-mowing robot. Not that it much matters: we’re all friends now.
This weekend my husband and I went for a run. We came across a few other runners – actually a group – that I knew and recognized. We’d belonged to the same run club, ran a few workouts together, and were friends on Facebook. They were on a training run for their first marathon. It has taken a lot of their time and dedication, it’s more expensive than they thought it would be, and they are amazed that they can still keep going and doing the distances. I know all of this because we are friends on Facebook.
As we approached them I mentioned their names to my husband. I said this within earshot, but not directly at them. “Hey, that’s Paul and Steve,” I said. As they got closer I got excited for them: they had run for about 1.5 hours by then and anything to distract you is motivating.
“Great job guys. You look awesome. Keep it up.” I said.
They looked at me, nodding. “Hello.” They had no idea who I was.
Same with the second pair of guys.
Finally there was a girl who I’ve talked to more often. I said her name, we exchanged “good job” encouragement, and did the high-five-you’re-a-runner as we passed each other. She knew who I was.
Recently when I added someone to my FB friends, I was prompted to answer whether I knew the person in real life. (What’s real life? I thought to myself). I decided that since FB is trying to creep up and get all sorts of information these days I’d just vote-split my answer and lie. Take that, Statistics! But it got me thinking — I have a lot of friends on Facebook I’ve never met in real life, aka: in person. I don’t think this matters — we have exchanges based on what we feel comfortable posting, or what we feel like sharing. We want to know more about each other and be “in the loop” with each other. I was dumped on Facebook so I know what it’s like to also be shut out of someone’s life.
But then I also need to realize that if I do see these people in person, they won’t know who I am.
It’s a funny idea that Facebook could essentially connect a world of people, but if you put them in a room together they would be strangers to one another. Sure, they could talk about what they’d posted or funny videos or good restaurants and blog ideas, but it’s a different way of relating when you do so in person. I remember my brother once saying that he spoke to a vendor at least one a week on the phone and they had long animated talks. More and more of their personalities started to blend in to the conversation once business was done. Then when the client came to town and they went out for dinner, it was like a bad first date. He said they just stared at each other awkwardly and weren’t sure what to talk about.
You blend differently in person. There is nothing wrong with that.
Lately I’ve had a flurry of new subscribers. I’d like to thank you all for coming along on my journey, but I want to know more about you. Tell me something about yourself in the comments. You don’t have to be afraid, we’ll probably never meet in person.
Follow me on Facebook. Pretty please?