Do you really KNOW all your Facebook friends? Would you recognize more than half of them if you walked by them on the street? Does your group of Facebook friends include some people that you have never even met personally, or at least have not seen in decades?
For many of us, assembling a large group of Facebook friends has become a social norm. And part of that norm is to beef up that list with people we don’t really, actually know. I recently came across articles about two Facebook regulars who have set out to change that. They took a vow to go out in the world in search of their Facebook friends, and to meet with them face-to-face, rather than laptop to laptop.
The first pioneer was Ty Morin, a photographer who announced that he would personally meet all 788 of his Facebook friends and then put together a documentary on those meetings and how it affected him:http://www.179pictures.com/about.html.
News of his project surfaced about a year and a half ago. Earlier this year, Mikel McLaughlin made a similar vow and has been blogging about his face-to-face meetings with Facebook friends: http://www.werefriendsright.com. Even if he used to know these “friends,” he is discovering that sitting down with them and just talking about their lives for an hour or longer instantly enables him to know that person much better than he had ever known them before.
Does this sound like an intriguing idea to you? You don’t have to go all-in to try this as an experiment. Maybe you want to take a smaller number of your Facebook friends, perhaps choosing 50 men and women whom you hardly know or have not seen in years. Then initiate direct contact with them, and see where it goes. The exercise could prove to be a valuable reminder that in today’s social environment, we often say we know a great many people but, in reality, we don’t. But we can change that, and be enriched in the process.
If you are writing your life story, this kind of exploration may be especially revealing, and fun, for you to embark on. So give it some thought. Your “friends” may be waiting for you.
– Kevin Quirk helps women and men of all ages and backgrounds tell the most important stories of their lives, including stories about friends they have known, in his role as autobiography ghostwriter and personal historian. He is the author of Your Life Is a Book And It’s Time to Write It: An A-to-Z Guide to Help Anyone Write Their Life Story.