Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Feeding Social: 4 thoughts

The determination of being a “friend,” is not found in a button. Online.

There are friends where, while we may not connect with each other online, it is no reflection of our friendship — or our real-life connection. And I trust they know that. 

Perhaps, just more a reflection (boring as it may be) of site’s configuration and privacies, or even just what I use that site for.

Perhaps it’s maintaining the “man behind the curtain” mystique of eachother? Maybe I don’t want to see you in your bedroom slippers. Or you, me. Ha!

Many of my friends ‘get this.’ They know no offense is meant if we are not connected, and mostly — fortunately — no offense is taken. I hope that continues.

But social used to be simple.

Not so much anymore.

Admittedly, having just returned to social posting after a 40-day sabbatical plus a week off-the-grid in the beautiful Cascade mountains of Washington, may have amplified this sentiment just a wee bit for the present time. And, hey... things can change.

But, it may also be that different friends may be better-suited to different social feeds.

Some might be more Pinterest that FB, or more Twitter than Insta. I don’t necessarily connect with one person on all platforms. For instance, one sister is on FB not Insta, but the other sister is just the opposite. That’s cool.

A friend of mine just celebrated some really exciting news. She and I are connected on Insta, and Pinterest, but not on FB. And do you know how I found out about it? She reached out to me. Directly. Happened to be email. See? No impact sur notre amitié.

My point is: these online social coliseums are not the almighty “Decider of Our Friends.” We are. 

Think about it.

It’s your morning social feed.

What’s in it? Or WHO is in it?

It’s like making your morning smoothie with the eclectic ingredients that you like: a little sweet, a little sass, a little dreamy, a little reality, a little polite, a little opinionated.

Regardless, it’s your mix in your visible social feed.

  • Maybe you’re a Tweeter. Short and witty.  
  • Maybe you’re on Insta. Beautiful, carefully-filtered photos.  
  • Maybe you’re a Pinning-addict like me. Creating your own veritable ‘custom magazine.’ 
  • Maybe you’re on LinkedIn. Connecting the connection-dots. Learning, attending, posting, shmoozing. It’s what it’s for. And as a freelance creative, I love LinkedIn. 
  • And, very likely, you're on FB. And this last one is the one which seems the most tricky to me.

Over the past 10 years, at a gradual pace, our lives — and how we interact online — have evolved dramatically. Oddly, while there are more ways to get in touch with folks now: social, email, LL*, cell, chat... it actually feels harder. More complicated. One friend is a texter. One’s only phone. How to share photos with the fam?

Good grief.

Where’s my life secretary?

I moved up to this area around after working as an Art Director at Disney for many years. Began work at Discovery Channel, then around 2008 began the first of my two wonderful freelance careers.

I love this work. This way of working suits me. And I love my clients. 

However, without having other people close by “in the office,” I believe that hopping onto Facebook in 2009, is part of why the freelance gig did not feel so isolating. You had a sense of connection.

But we all know that FB was a LOT simpler back then.

I recall volunteering with the Presidential Inauguration early 2009 I overheard a girl saying to her friend, “What should we post [about what we’re doing].” What???? This sounded absurd to me. Too much effort. Who cares what you’re doing. It was like a vain, mini-newscast of.... you. Ugh.

And yet...

Not even a decade later, here we ALL are.

Each of us, likely, with many online channels of the newscasts of “me.”

But now it’s complicated. If you friend someone but aren’t friends with their friends, sometimes your updates and info can be seen by others. Lord. You need a PhD to sort through the constantly-changing privacy fine print.

And, my friends... our ‘life’ is bigger than that. WAY bigger than that.

I recall the first time I “friended” a friend on FB where my request to her was not accepted.

Admittedly, it felt a little weird at first. I knew we were real-life friends. So I was a little confused. But I set my sensitivity aside to realize and trust that the determination of our “friendship,” was not to be found in a button. Online.

Maybe it was just that particular outlet, for her of FB.  Who knows.

You see, this person and I are connected on LinkedIn. We go to the same church, but — for whatever her reasons were — I honor her decision to not connect on FB. And if this has happened to you, I trust that you will also know that it is not a reflection of a friendship. Perhaps you’re connected somewhere else? On Pinterest or Instagram?

So, my friend... if we are not connected online, do not worry. :)

Shoot me an email. Let’s go get coffee. In real face-time.

I don’t need to add you as my friend...

you already are one.

* Thank you SB for the LL acronym! I still have one, too. 

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