Relationships. Friendships. Acquaintances. They’re all funny old things aren’t they?
I mean have you ever been in love? It’s a big question I know. Some will answer a big fat YES straight away and others will take time to think about it. I’m the latter. I’m not talking about any old love though. You know that all encompassing feeling of emotion when your loved one gives you that look, makes you a cuppa tea, when you get that fluttery feeling every time that person walks into the room and not just at the start of the relationship, little things you catch yourself remembering at odd moments that make you smile. You know that kinda love that you see in movies where it’s just perfect and happy and everything is right with the world (well in your world). You know the kind I’m talking about right? No? Neither do I. It struck me today whilst I was deep in thought making the first cuppa of the day, and after reading an article on social media relationships (real or fake borne out of social media), that I don’t think I’ve ever been in love. And d’you know how i know this?.. when I drove out of the village and suddenly stopped as my wee Ryan was waving to me from his garden gate. I realised that just now he is the only thing that comes anywhere close to the feelings of real love for someone I think I’ve ever had. Of course I love my parents and my family and my friends but that’s in the kind of parents, family, friends love that we all have experience of. He makes me laugh, and not just laugh, proper belly laughing where you jaws ache. He can bring me to tears with his touches of tenderness towards his little baby brother. And I swear he has the wit and intelligence of people twice his age. And so this is how I realised that I’ve never had that feeling before with a significant other. In the one long term relationship that I’ve had there was love - of sorts!… but not the kind that I’m talking about. It was probably more infatuation, which turned into habit, that turned into resentment and finally ended up being, well, nothing…
Anyway, that wasn’t what I was going to talk about. Making the first cuppa tea of today, I was deep in thought after reading the article that someone re-tweeted on Twitter. The author was on about relationships in ‘social media’ (Twitter, Facebook, blogs plus more I suppose it meant), that these relationships aren’t real or that somehow they don’t matter or that you are being used or are using the people you communicate with (more businesses in this case, I think!). And then I thought, hang on, wait a minute, that isn’t strictly true. Is it? I have blogged for over two years now and there are people who comment on my blog occasionally that I have never met and yet somehow I feel that there is a relationship there, a friendship, a connection. So my first question is this, do you think it’s possible to be friends with someone whom you have never met in your entire life and perhaps you never will? Is it possible to feel their pain when something doesn’t quite go in the right direction? Or to feel so happy that something has gone totally right for them? I mean, in the days before the internet there was such a phenomenon as pen pals, who would put pen to paper and write letters to each other having never met before, and never having the intention of meeting either but this was your ‘pal’. So how can people you ‘follow’ on Twitter not be your ‘pen pal’? Here’s what I think… I think that you can build relationships via the web. If you are anything like me (a little bit shy and reserved) these are people you probably would never have come across in your real life if you didn’t have the internet – a blog, a Facebook page, a Twitter page. I see these outlets (for want of a better word) as a place to find things out (Twitter, Facebook), to express my thoughts and ideas (my blog), to connect with like-minded people (Twitter, Flickr, my blog), to hear the latest product news (from companies) and to keep in touch with friends and family (Facebook, email). Talking of companies, yes there are companies out there who are using this whole social media thing for their own ends, to sell their products and maybe that’s how businesses are evolving these days, perhaps Twitter is the new junk mail? But me, I see Twitter as the new pub, the new hangout, the gang hut, the maths corridor at the back of the school where me and my pals used to hang out, eat lunch and drink Irn Bru whilst talking about boys. I suppose what I’m really saying is that yes I think you can build relationships via the web, and as in real life face-to-face connections there are good and bad relationships and for the bad you always have the following options: ‘delete as a friend’, ‘unfollow’ or ‘block’. Talking about Twitter specifically I’m not into the whole you follow me so I automatically follow you back. Everyone I follow is there because I am interested in what they have to say in their Tweets, whether that be actual people, celebrities or companies. Hopefully people that follow me are interested in what I have to say to but I guarantee there are followers who I know are not one bit interested – companies, ‘I can get you more follower’ peddlers, get rich quick schemes and even the person/company that followed me because I spoke about bacon! Weird.
Here’s another question: Would you miss someone you connected with if they suddenly disappeared? I most certainly would and I’m not afraid to say it. I would miss my favourite bloggers if they suddenly stopped posting. I would miss my favourite Tweeters if they stopped Tweeting. And it’s not necessarily that i know any of these people because I realised last week that I’ve only ever met 2 people i follow on Twitter. I’ve met one of my favourite bloggers. There are people on Twitter that i’d love to meet but probably never will due to geographical location and status – I mean Lance Armstrong is never gonna do a Tweet-Up bike ride around Stirling now is he?!?! Maybe he will! I can but live in hope. There are a few people that i’m hopefully going to meet at the Twestival tomorrow evening and I can add them to my people i’ve actually met list that will soon appear on my Twitter page!
And so these are just some of my thoughts on this whole ‘social media’ and building relationships thing. (By the way when i say relationships what i mean is friendships, connections, acquaintances). No big revelations or dictatorships here. No siree. Just me, my thoughts and probably too much information at the beginning of this post, but you know me, once i start i go off on tangents.
Anyway i’m interested to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment whether you agree or disagree.
PS music update (cos i’ve not done one in a while) Linda got me the GLEE album for my birthday and it’s been on in the car for the past 2 weeks. It’s actually pretty great. I’ll loan you it if you want :o)