Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Virtual Friendships In The Real World

I decided to borrow this topic from my wonderful friend and fellow blogger, Sheena. Thank you in advance, dear lady!

I joined Facebook back in 2009 after another old friend urged me to give it a try. I didn't know at that time how much I would enjoy a silly place where people play at farming and chasing jewels and fight Mafia wars. Although I don't take part in any of the games myself, I've seen it is a big part of others' Facebook experience. I like it for the social networking it provides.

I am not the most social person. My world revolves around my home and family. I like to cook, work in the yard, handcraft soap and I love to travel. Even in my younger years, I never had a huge circle of friends. I'm not really a loner or a snob, nor do I particularly care to be alone most of the time. I've just never been a "socializer" and that's just who I am. Especially at my age, it is difficult to find those with similar interests whose schedules jive enough with mine to make socializing possible.

My first "friends" on Facebook were folks that I knew in high school. The big 30 year reunion was being planned and it was so exciting to see all the faces from the past and hear of the arrangements being made to visit. Although I was unable to attend, I almost felt as if I was there with all the sharing of experiences and photos by my old classmates. Interestingly, some of the people who I now call friends were really no more than casual acquaintances in high school. I've found as I have gotten to know them that we really weren't that different after all. Or maybe it's just that with the angst-ridden and awkward years of high school past us that we now just seem more similar. The insecurity of thinking I wasn't "good enough" is long past and I don't posses the shy nature I had back then either. Really, were we not much more than children in adult bodies during those high school years? I didn't feel truly "grown up" until I reached the ripe old age of thirty!!

My sons actually seemed okay with being "friends" with me on Facebook and several of their friends and acquaintances have also "friended" me. It's pretty neat seeing how they interact and I hope they see me as a pretty cool Mom.

Well.....maybe not the coolest, but cool nonetheless...

I've become friends with other Moms, too, and we can keep track of what's going on in every one's lives. I've also reconnected with dear cousins. In the past we were just far enough apart in age to not have many common interests. Now I feel a real connection to my family.

I've "liked" and joined pages of interest in a myriad of areas. Travel destinations, restaurants, recipe sites, TV shows....the list goes on and on. I've even joined fan pages of bands and musicians and actors and athletes and artists and writers and radio and TV personalities. It's fun believing that these folks actually take time to make posts for their fans/friends to see. I feel like I have a knack for being able to tell the famous ones who update their own pages and the ones who just have their "people" make the posts. A lot of them are plain old folks, just like the rest of us. I've forged friendships with other folks from those same pages, too. I've been informed of events and even attended some that I would not have known about otherwise. Once, after reading a post of a last-minute reservation cancellation on a cabin at a state park here in Oklahoma, I hauled off and grabbed that cabin for the weekend and headed out with my son and our dog. It was a wonderful time!

Happily, I've not had too many negative interactions on Facebook. There have been a few that I quietly unfriended or ignored due to content I viewed as offensive or for just being plain annoying. But generally I've enjoyed my Facebook experience so far. I don't take part in the "Chat" portion as I have learned from past experience that that can be a real time waster for me. I still feel like I probably spend more time on Facebook than I should, but I don't feel like it interferes with my life too much.

So, I suppose...if I really think about it....Facebook has enriched my "real" life in more ways that just the occasional comment or wisecrack I so enjoy posting. It truly has made me a more social person in that I've done things I would normally have not done. I've learned a lot about others' politics and beliefs and lifestyles and, even if they don't exactly match my own beliefs, I'm more accepting of these ideas than I ever was in the past. It sure has been a ride and I'm looking forward to forging more friendships and learning a lot more about the world outside my small sphere I call home.


  1. Brilliant! Well put. I do feel like we are now the dearest friends, and I know you feel the same.

  2. Yes, ma'am, and thanks for letting me expound on your original topic.