Occasionally I think about something other than my garden or photography. So every now and then, I would like to go off the topic of photography and / or gardening. I will endeavor to include a photo in those posts, just for you!
Take a look at the photo below. What do you see?
I see several things: My favorite color, Red. Empty chairs and tables. An empty beach and palm trees outside the windows.
If you are like me, you have a Facebook account. And now I have my blog and other bloggers that I have been connecting with. Google has also launched a social media site, Google+ and of course there is still MySpace (at least I think so) and some, like me are also on LinkedIN.
I don’t know about you, but for me it all started with MySpace. Then I jumped over to Facebook, just before it got really huge. Now of course its kinda a mess, with all the changes and privacy issues and spam. Seems like we are always hearing about the social media in the news. What’s the effect, what are the good points and the bad. Yesterday I filled out a profile for Google+, and wondered if this is something I really wanted to do. (Though I do have some real reasons for doing so)
Which brings me to the photo, and the question I am asking with this post. The photo represents a perfect space, no people, just a peaceful place waiting for our friends to join us in the cafe. We could think of our “Friends” circles like the inside seating and even the space outside, the empty beach. What do you think would be more fun, more meaningful to you ? To fill the chairs and cafe to capacity with friends and acquaintances , even overflowing on to the beach? Some you know very well, some you have just met. I would like to equate this with having over 100 friends on a friends list.
Or are you like me, and prefer a quiet gathering of friends that know each other and enjoy each others company.
Now I get the value in the connections with co-workers, in-laws, extended family that lives far away. Its great to be able to include them in our day to day lives. I do it, and I feel like I have been enriched by it. But where do you draw the line, when you get a “Friend” request ? Is this someone that you really know, or that will enhance your life and you theirs? Or in accepting that request, are you just someone else in their collection? I know a woman, that I went to High School with, that keeps sending me Friend requests. I remember her from school, I remember the day I walked into the restroom and overheard her talking about me and making fun of something I did in our Driver’s Education class. We never really spoke after that, even tho we remained connected thru our classmates and the H.S. circles we moved in. I can’t image that she really wants to be my friend. And I don’t want to be part of her collection, either.
And I have been guilty of the same thing, sending request’s because I did “meet” someone new on FB. Some of these have become pretty cool modern day pen-pals, and I have even spent real time with people I have met via this medium. This has enriched my life. But these days, I am not always looking to add to my collection. I want meaningful relationships, with a purpose. That purpose can be just for a laugh, to play a game together, to share ideas about the world, and my work.
As this medium evolves and replaces some of the older, more traditional means of communication we will have to decide for ourselves how to define a “friend”. And where do we draw the line? What is the proper etiquette involving this kind of activity? I suppose we are asking and answering that question daily. So feel free to send that friend request. But don’t be surprised if the request is never answered. Because the purpose of a friends isn’t just to be another face in a friend collection.
To close this post, I looked up the definition of the word friend and found these synonyms: alter ego, amigo, buddy, chum, com-padre, comrade, confidant, crony, familiar, intimate, musketeer, pal. I will try to remember these words as well, when looking for answer to the question: Are you my friend?