It’s not real life…

Still not sure what Linkedin is for other than spying on people’s CV… but after about three years I’ve accepted everyone’s invitation to be part of their “network” so nobody should feel like I don’t like them…

I never stop to marvel at how grown up people, well over the age of 17, keep treating social networks as real life. How they get annoyed if you don’t “like” their page, accept their invitations, make comments on their photos… Before Facebook if you met somebody at a work meeting, or at a party, or at a class, chances were you’d never see them again, or you’d see them again in the same quick superficial manner, for five minutes. Before FB we were allowed to have “superficial” relationships with acquaintances  we neither liked or disliked – most of them were perfectly nice – and it was implicit on both sides that we didn’t have time for each other, or not that much in common.  But now with FB, five minutes after you’ve left a party you’ll have four requests of friendship from people you only spoke for 5 minutes with. And since they are friends of friends, or colleagues, or they come to your salsa class,  and you can’t 100% rule out that you’ll never see them again, you accept such requests. Because it’s easier to do so than to open a “cause celebre” by refusing them.

Let’s face it: how many people on your FB’s friend list, are really your friends?

What tends to happen at this point is that lots of people, who don’t actually know you, who never once called you on the phone to know how you are because they don’t HAVE your phone number, start judging you and your life on the basis of your Facebook posts. They get angry at you for what you say, or don’t say. Expect your attention, no matter what’s going in your life (they won’t have a clue, they don’t know you for REAL).

Since THEY put every single second of their life online, to let you know if they are happy, sad, constipated, bereft, in a new film, job, house or relationship, they assume everyone else does the same. Not realising that thank goodness there are lots of people outthere who, like me, only use social network for banter, to share a joke, to vent about the bad weather, to talk about a TV show or to tease a friend who lives far away. We don’t LIVE on it. Our life is elsewhere. Somewhere these people can’t reach.

Even the FB creators realised that so they have introduced the “acquaintance” button, whereby you can effectively downgrade a FB “friend” to acquaintance so that they won’t see your posts. A feature I know apply to more than half of my FB contacts, hoping one day to find the guts to simply erase them.

But, seriously…. What’s the point?

Since I don’t think Facebook is the real life, and I don’t necessarily think of my Facebook “buddies” as real friends, I don’t put my real life on it. Only small snapshots that say nothing about the true me.

My real friends wouldn’t dream of getting upset for not liking their page, replying on their posts, or not accepting their linkedin requests, because they will have the chance to actually talk to me and tell me what they are up to, what they like, what they think. And they know that, like most people, if I don’t reply to stuff it’s because I don’t have TIME. Because something IS actually going on in my life, something that will require my attention more than Facebook. My real friends are the ones who exist OUTSIDE social networks. They are the ones who ring me, the ones I see, the ones who don’t assume my life is a sequence of great acting jobs,  banters and holidays, because they actually know me.

Honestly people, get annoyed if somebody stops returning your calls, not if they forget to like your pages. That is, if you’ve EVER talked on the phone…

We’re all so connected… But real friends are still very rare. And nobody has 567 of them.




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