Face It

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Nov 6th, 2011
Mel
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Face It

 

“Make new friends,

But keep the old.

One is silver,

And the other gold.”

(A Scouting Song/Round)

Friends come in many shapes, sizes, and temperaments. Some are with us for a short moment in time, others for a season, and a select few are there for life. Those long-term friendships are rare, and take a fair amount of work to cultivate, nurture, and maintain. They are like marriage, ebbing and flowing, up and down, yet, even after years of silence, return with renewed passion and loyalty. Right?

With that in mind, I have recently wondered exactly what people think of their internet friends. This being a relatively new brand of social interaction, I couldn’t help but wonder why I would desire 500+ facebook “friends”, and if there was a snowball’s chance in Hell that I may connect with even one true blue friend along the way.

Why did some people acquire fb friends like flypaper, and I struggled to keep 146 on my roster?

Perhaps it was my cynical nature, but I really didn’t see the point in amassing hundreds of fb friends, who didn’t know me, didn’t care about me, and probably did not trust me. After all, how would I know that one of those “friends” wasn’t stealing my photos and distributing them all over the world – after they had altered them and made me look like a fool, or a monster? Why were some people like an open book, and others so private that you wondered why they even bothered with fb at all?

In fact, did anyone really care? I thought that they might care at first, but then found the entire fb phenomenon futile and worthless, for in reality, each of us is rather isolated, and true friends are rare.

So, this got me to thinking. Could you rely on your fb friends if you needed help? Don’t count the ones who you’ve known for years and have relationships with. Those are real friends. They would help you even if you didn’t have a fb account.

I can think of a few who would help, but with most, there would be a quid pro quo thing expected. I know that I’m not being politically correct, but then again, I never have been before, so why start now? I seem to offend people with the truth, and have managed to lose several fb “friends” in the last year.

For those who really know me, that is probably a surprise. But then again, maybe not. You see, I tend to tell the truth, and am not one for “brown nosing”. If I don’t agree with you, I’ll either ignore you, or I’ll let you know my POV.

I let one of my former fb friends know that I did not appreciate her using me to get to someone who has been in television and film. (I have several actors as fb friends, so don’t try to guess.) She retaliated by blocking me. How childish and openly admissive of guilt could she have been? I felt sorry for her. She went somewhere she should not have gone, and as a result, I got severely slapped. All over a silly game of Lexulous!  Go figure.

“You help me,

And I’ll help you.

And together,

We will see it through.”

On the other hand, I met my wonderfully colorful blogging partner, Sj Heckscher-Marquis, online. We became fb friends, and the rest is history. We have “My Ink Project” together, and I am happy to be one of her editors and writing partners. I like to tell folks that we are “Polar Opposites”, but in reality, we share many of the same experiences in our lives. This has resulted in a unique, yet very meaningful friendship, and one that will be around for a while.

Don’t get me wrong, I love fb. (Did I just write that?) It’s a great place to reconnect with old friends and learn more about new friends that you meet in your travels. In the entertainment industry, one may work with a person for only an hour or two, yet form a nice bond through social networking. I love reading about the new projects that the great voice actors from “Ronal The Barbarian” are working on, and even learned that one of them, Brad Abelle, is a remarkable artist. I would never have known that if it weren’t for our fb friendship.

I have had the opportunity to guest blog on another writer’s blog, simply because Sj suggested we become fb buddies. Vincent Zandri is a well established International author, and getting to showcase my piece on “Memory” on his writing blog was a great honor.

I also met Richard Pierce-Saunderson through Sj, and ended up interviewing him. He was the subject of Part 1 of my Creative Garden series on this very blog site, and has become a good friend. Richard recently featured one of my daughter’s songs on his radio show from Stradbroke, England, which was a thrill for all of us. Miss Violet Radio’s, “Fade”, was heard all over the world because of fb!

Of course, I am fortunate, in a way, to have a good handle on who I am fb friends with. Others, with thousands of “friends” have had to face nightmarish issues with the new format of fb’s news feed, and who’s posts one sees. It’s harder to get noticed on fb these days, and I am fairly certain that folks with thousands of fb friends, are not taking the time to click on every person’s wall and placing them in an appropriate category of “friendship”.

Personally, I find this new format disturbing. It has made it almost impossible for Sj and me to grow our reading audience for My Ink Project, and forced anyone with a fb page for their career or business, to consider advertising on fb. Yes folks, fb has managed to trick everyone into paying to use it for self-promotion, by simply altering the news feed, and forcing you to choose which friends and pages you want to see.

If you are one of the many people I know, who “LIKE” everything under the sun, you probably will not see that I have even written this new blog entry. It really is quite sad, as most of us do not have hours to go sifting through all of the various feeds and lists that fb now requires us to maneuver if we desire to “keep in touch” with everyone. It is virtually impossible, and a travesty to the purpose of social networking.

“A fire burns bright,

It warms the heart.

We’ve been friends,

From the very start.”

Facebook has provided me with a few perks, which are the main reasons that I continue to use it, and add a few people to my friends list every now and then. One perk, is being able to stay in touch with my relatives, as well as people that I knew from my younger days as a musician and music business executive. It warms my heart to hear about everyone’s lives and travels, and I adore looking at photos of new additions to their families.

The second perk, is being able to connect with other writers, and learn about their various trials and tribulations of getting published, finding an audience, and making a living as a writer. As a result of helping my writer friends, I have discovered that I am quite good at writing those “blurbs” that act as an impartial synopsis on a book’s back cover, and are often the main reason a reader decides to read a novel. I have even been dubbed the “Blurbamatrix”, by a fine writer from Kentucky, Jason Horger.

The final perk, is that I’ve met some really interesting people, who on occasion, I offer my help to. After all, what are friends for, if not to help someone else out when they find themselves in a perplexing or stressful predicament?

My most recent adventure included writing a letter to the Mayor and City Council members of a high profile California city, requesting that they reconsider their outrageous proposal of tearing down a park, and spending over $40 million dollars on replacing it with cement, brick pavers, ultra modern structures that don’t fit in with the neighborhood architecture, and a $10 million dollar underground parking lot in an earthquake prone area!

Why did I do this? Because, I can write a pretty convincing letter when the spirit moves me, and because one of my fb friends lives will be greatly impacted by this debacle. If I can help some nice folks strategize against their corrupt local politicians, and look at the situation with a fresh approach, why not help? It was a selfless deed, I made a couple of new friends along the way, and if I ever make it out to Cali, I will make a point to visit Plummer Park.

Face it, facebook is a part of most of our lives, for better or worse, and like a friend, we must have our ups and downs with it, and accept what role it plays in our lives. Will fb be in my life for a short moment, a season, or for the long haul? This is a question I have asked myself, and challenge you to ask yourself.

You may be surprised by the answer, and I’d love some feedback from readers about their love/hate relationships with the blue-eyed monster that dwells on our desktops.

“Across the land,

Across the sea,

Friends forever,

We will always be.”

Best Friends ©Kara Francavillo 2007

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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