Bowery Mural

Relationships - in a social media sense

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

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.

Ange xx

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)


  1. I think you are absolutely right.. in fact I was just reflecting a few days ago on the fact that I have met some people who i've had twitter conversations with and it's been the most awkward experience as they've been 'typically' creative and shy and yet they open up on twitter..
    But i've also met people via twitter who I can chat to in the street.. live conversation is not dead :)

  2. OMG I don't think I've met anyone who I follow on Twitter. I never even thought about it before. I would totally miss some people if they stopped tweeting though. One of my twitter friends actually disappeared, maybe the downside to social media is that people can just delete you.

    Saying that, I know people whose blog I follow and Facebook in person, and I am in love *blush*!!

  3. I agree with a lot of what you have written Ange.

    I have a new (new as in, in addition to not as in replacement) circle of friends that I met a couple of years ago through the powers of the internet. Some of them I would consider close friends now. If it wasn't for the forums and blogs I'd still be doing all my hill walking and outdoor shenanigans solo. I'd have far fewer friends and aquaintances, both in person and online too. You here for example.

    I feel that although there are aspects of society, such as the "social scene" and language that are evolving and changing due to new trends in communication, it's not neccessarily a bad thing. There's a social revolution of sorts going on in every generation if you think about it. I'd say the internet and all these forms of instant communication are just whats going on in ours.

    Jeez that was a bit deep for this early in the morning. I only popped by to tell you that you've inspired me with all this cycling talk and bike buying, to go get a bike and start using it to commute with!


  4. Agree entirely with what you've written regarding 'social media' friends. I certainly would feel sad if all my twitter friends went away. Long may it remain the "new pub, the new hangout, the gang hut.."

  5. Thanks for your comments folks.
    Jon I think you've just described me there. I met a few twitter friends last night and they were lovely.

    Laura - you should have a wee meet up with people you follow. If you're in Stirling area any time give me a shout!! Is the friend who disappeared with the user name IIIIIIIII ? I followed that person too an noticed they'd gone. I wonder what happened? or if they are another user in disguise? Aaw and you're in love! Congrats.

    Sandy, aye that was a bit deep for a Thursday morning! but yeah times are changing and it's easier to communicate all over world if you have to. Also i forgot to mention texting. How many times do we text people when what we could really do is pick up the phone and phone them, have a conversation, actually talk to them? Its strange eh. Now you mention forums, i'm not so keen on them as there always seems to be someone to pick up on your every word and diss you or take the mick. I can do without that. Saying that I do know there are genuine people on forums but sadly they outweigh the good folks.

    Nick - yes! the new pub has arrived. Now get yourself out and meet some.

  6. "I see Twitter as the new pub, the new hangout, the gang hut, ..."

    Having just been introduced to the joys of twittering - know what you mean. Especially for those like me who spend most of the week tied to a lonely desk. On the other hand - I can talk nineteen to the dozen but can't do a neat tweet:-( But Twitter is a great reminder to visit great blogs like yours.

  7. Hi Amanda thanks for your comment! i'm tied to a desk too mostly but i love to see what's going on with people i follow on Twitter. I've found so many great things via Twitter - brilliant art, good info on bikes, wonderful blog posts and lovely people to connect with.
    BTW do i follow you / do you follow me on Twitter?? I can't find an Amanda in my lists!!! let me know :o)

  8. When Ange speaks of meeting great people on Twitter, she really means me. Not @pyllon, not @lilacswizzle or any of you. Just to get that out there. She just knows it would fuel a chaps ego to write that, but that's okay.

    She also demanded a comment.

    In seriousness, the reality is that some people on Twitter are, in the venacular of my schooling, 'nobheads' and some people seem like 'nobheads' but are really not. And some people are alright. Does any of this matter? Not really, not unless you make it. You will never know unless you engage. Unless you put a little out there and see. And, if you find some people who don't think ill of you then why not meet up. Or are we such nobs ourselves that we can't imagine face to face? Surely Twitter is the means and not the end?

    I want share more than 140chars with a precious few, and in putting myself out there, I have been rewarded with some memory founding moments.

    If it all ends tomorrow I have that, and I am just dandy thanks.


  9. Aye.
    I came late to the 'net as I didn't like the look of it, but I've met some great friends who I've had great times with as well as finding a whole other world via my blog and the doors that it's opened for me.
    Maybe it shows that the community spirit is alive and well, just in a different form.

    People are people, good and bad, and the more we can talk to other people who don't like on our street the smaller the world becomes.
    That has to be a good thing?

    Besides, without the infernal lightbox we wouldn't be riding the Kilpatricks tomorrow night :o)

  10. "live on our street"


  11. Aye, And as like on any street there'll be the snobs on one side and the 'others' on the other side. I'm finding though that the good 'others' far outweigh the bad. I love it.
    As you say, through the power of the 'net we meet all sorts of people who become friends. It's funny cos my sis said to me just last night... "how do you know they are who they say they are?". My reply was that as in real life through dialogue and chit chat you can soon spot the fakers/ haters/ people you just don't want to get involved with. Aye, some might slip through your safety net but generally I like to think (well as far as is reasonable) that i can spot the genuine people. People who i do want to engage with and people where there is a mutual respect to eventually become friends. There is no room for hate in my world.

    Sorry is that too deep?... it's been one of those days.

    And by the power of the web we shall go to the hills on the 2-wheeled-chariots tomorrow evening! Looking forward to it, except the steep bits (which i know there will be?!). Right need to finish packing the bag. See you soon.


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