Monday, May 21, 2012

facebook and friendship ...

The recent IPO of Facebook has me thinking about friendships. Facebook has revolutionized how people stay connected, get connected, communicate with others.

I absolutely, one hundred percent, LOVE Facebook. It's awesome. I spend a lot of time on it and I enjoy it. When Timeline came out, I did not hesitate. I was an early adopter, watched the provided tutorials, learned the new security and privacy features, and learned how to best navigate the new set up.

I love Facebook's "connection factor." I have reconnected with lost friends, those missing in action, their whereabouts unknown. I am able to stay in immediate contact with close friends, those who I speak to on the phone, email often, text frequently, and even see in person.

WHAT?! See people in person?! That is strange.

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Facebook gave me several friendship surprises and brought new and interesting people into my life.

For example, there's a group called The Upstart Crow (a coffee shop / cafe / bookstore in Campbell where the "alternative" kids hung out during my high school heyday in the 1980s). I loved "The Crow." You could buy one cup of tea or coffee and sit with friends for five ... six ... eight ... or ten hours ... and talk, play cards, gossip, fall in love, find out where the night's party was. The best part was that I could be a freaky, hyper, nerdy, new wave, gay kid without question. They also had awesome apricot pie.

Anyhow, I joined this group and began reconnecting with kids -- now adults with their own kids -- from my past. Names that existed only in my journals, until Facebook came around.

Fast forward to a few years ago: Darcy, who I met back in those days and reconnected with via this group, Facebook-messaged me that someone she worked with was moving to New York. She asked if I could friend him so he could ask me questions about living here.

Of course, I said yes.

Brian and I connected on Facebook on a Wednesday. The email conversation went like this:

SCOTT: Hi Brian! Darcy told me that you are planning to move to NYC. How exciting! She mentioned that you have some questions. I would be pleased to answer them for you.

BRIAN: Hi Scott! That's awesome! I can't wait to move there!
SCOTT: When do you plan on moving here?
(This was asked since I assumed he wanted to know about neighborhoods to move to, rent prices, transportation, weather patterns for the time he was planning to move, etc.)

Two days later, we met, bar hopped, and became fast friends. He comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, house sits my dog Victor while I travel, and has integrated into my existing group of friends perfectly. His friend Jeff, who lives here, is now a good friend. Chances of meeting either of them without Facebook are slim to none.

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Another surprise is that I have met "friends of friends" who I now consider my friends ... people that I look forward to reading up on, who laugh at my status updates and enjoy my comments, and who I appreciate. I tried to retrace the degrees of separation to determine how I came to know them. Most times, I can't tell or remember. I review friends we have in common and still can't tell. We now have too many friends in common!

There's Anne, Dan, Kal, Randy, Jeff, Robert, Steve, Cal, Eric, Greg, Levi -- just to name a few. People I have "met" virtually, but never seen in person. They are funny, talented, smart, witty, deep, pensive, kind, supportive, and plain ol' good people. They are also all a definite source of entertainment. I wonder about their days or their week. I like seeing their life through their photos (like Anne's awesome red kitchen!). I am genuinely glad I have met them. I have met a few of them in person, gone to dinners and movies, and such. Maybe someday I'll meet all of them in person.

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Once, I saw an old high school friend posting on another friend's page. He was now living in Canada. How great! What took him from California to Toronto? How long has he been there? Is he happy?

I was excited to reconnect and I sent a Facebook message with a lengthy update of the last twenty-something years of my life. I asked him to do the same. He responded, "I think you have me confused with someone else," or something similar. (He'll most likely correct me on the exact exchange.)

This guy was someone I didn't know, but he did have the exact same name as someone I went to high school with. This guy was someone I didn't know, but we started chatting on Facebook. This guy was someone I didn't know, but we have become friends. We even were able to meet in person during one of trips to NYC. We comment on each other's updates and posts and make each other laugh. He is an integral part of the award show commentary that goes on and we have a weekly battle for "R E V E N G E ! ! ! ! !" every Wednesday. We both like Turner Classic Movies and update each other on films that are programmed. And ... most kindly ... he has become my biggest blog fan. At least that's what I call him.

This past Sunday he posted to my wall "Sunday is almost over. Just saying' ..." This was a nudge to get me to do what I set out to do: post something brilliant and life changing each Sunday. He likes to start his Monday at the office with my blog. Isn't that nice? I love it.

I love his interest in what I have to say. I love that Facebook has brought us together as friends. I love that we live in an age where friendship can happen on this magical messaging machine known as the Internet. It's totally awesome. It reminds me of having a pen pal.

So ... Mark Zuckerburg ... If you are reading this, you're probably reading it from your magical mobile messaging machine, but I trust that you are not reading this. However, I want to thank you for making Facebook a place to connect. You deserve the money. If you want to throw a few shares my way ....

So ... Mike Elliot ... whether you are reading this at home or at the office, I trust that you are reading.

And ... "You're so vain. I bet you think this post is about you. Don't you? Don't you? Don't you?"

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  1. awww, I'm getting all verklempt!

    Although I do wonder what the "other" Mike Elliot is up to. I would also like some apricot pie with whipped cream.

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