Despite having had a Facebook account for sometime, I didn’t really get it and still don’t use it very much. Not having a Smartphone (yes I know I am a Luddite) it is really difficult to keep abreast of everyone’s news. Besides, why would I want to? I only have about 60 people that I am friends with on Facebook, which I realise will seem a miniscule number to the technological of you. The volume of information that such a number of friends generates makes me ask those of you with 10x or 100x as many friends, how do you cope?
The point is, these people did not seem real to me. I knew most of them at school, hadn’t spoken to many in years and may never see some of them again. That’s not real. No phone calls, no meetings, no Christmas or birthday cards. And where do people find the time to write on there every day about what little Johnny said or did today, or what they are making for dinner that night?
What did I know? When I posted about my friend dying, the condolences from my friends on Facebook were heartfelt and immediate. Their content was also open, genuine and mirrored my horror at the suddenness of it all. One friend spoke about how she hugged her children a little longer that night as she thought of me, my friend and my friend’s daughter. Perhaps the loveliest thing of all though, was the sheer volume of replies. Yes, you can ring one person and have a chat with them, which can make you feel better, but you can’t ring 10,20, 40 people all at once and get a connection with them. Now that will make you feel even better still!
There is still nothing like having coffee with a friend, catching up on the telephone or receiving mail through the post. Facebook has its place in keeping us in contact too though. I’m glad now that it’s there.