After several years of “being on Facebook”, I’m still drawn to it the same way I am to chocolate. I know too much of it is bad for me, but without my daily dose I get twitchy. I’ve never really been able to explain “why” convincingly to those who aren’t or “never will be” on Facebook. (Probably because it sounds strangely deranged to say: Facebook brings me moments of happiness every day). The thing is, it’s nice to share thoughts and moments of life with close friends, long lost friends, friends I barely remember and even… friends who technically aren’t.
I don’t have a lot of these “fake” friends. I normally don’t send friend requests or accept them from people to whom I’ve never spoken or that I’ve never seen in real life. That is, until I got a garden in Fairyland.
Fairyland is one of the many games on Facebook and the only one I participate in. Put succinctly: you plant (fake) seeds, others come and (fake) water them, and some leave (real) messages (if only the same could apply to my real plants at home, they would last much longer).
I’ve made quiet a few fairy friends over the last one and a half year (that would be the ones who come to water my garden regularly – and vice versa). Two of them, Megan and Maureen, have gone from being fairy friends to “just” friends on Facebook. I felt a “connection” with them early on (maybe because of their frequent allusions to alcohol) and really enjoy “knowing them” more closely because they’re interesting and fun-loving people.
And then there’s Gill. She’s not on my Facebook friend list (yet), but she reads my blog. I know this, because she often leaves me messages in my garden with allusions to it. It really makes my day – and goes to show that fairy friends can be just as good friends as “real” ones.
… to follower friends on Twitter
Unlike Facebook, Twitter doesn’t offer you friends, but followers – while making you a followee at the same time. It’s not a give and take situation: the people you follow and whose lives you read about don’t necessary follow you. For example, I follow Stephen Fry (like over one million other people), I sometimes even comment on his tweets – but he doesn’t follow me, doesn’t read anything I write and never will. Stephen Fry is not my friend, nor is a certain John Chow (even though he sends me e-mails) or Guy Kawasaki. But I don’t bear a grudge. They’re still nice people.
There are however a few people on Twitter that I now consider as friends (well at least in Twitterworld). We’ve had a few DM’s (DM = direct message – like a “private” tweet), I try not to miss too many of their tweets and I truly care about what’s going on in their lives.
My first twitter friend was Barry. I came upon him one night because I was watching Golden Girls and so was he. I have since followed him from his job at a UK call centre back to his natal Scotland where he’s started studying (though I’m not sure what…) and also works in a pub. The way he’s turned his life around and his tenacity are a real inspiration to me, and even though we don’t share the same love of Starbucks and men’s underwear, he’s the follower I’d be the most sad to lose.
I will probably never get to meet my Facebook or Twitter friends-who-aren’t-really-friends in real life. But I cherish their presence online (and let’s be honest: I spend a LOT of time online). Not because I don’t have enough “real” friends, but because these new friends know me in another way and we have things in common I don’t share with others.