Last week I had an interaction with someone that totally stunned me. Someone that I’d had some really nice dealings with a few years ago messaged me on facebook asking me why I was his friend on there and followed his photography page when I never “liked” or commented on his work and why hadn’t I ever promoted his work on my blog? During the course of the conversation as I tried to remain calm in the face of growing irrationality, he mentioned that he is always supporting other peoples work. It was at that point that I pointed out that he’d never promoted my work and pointed out that I liked seeing his work popping up in my facebook feed but I didn’t feel that the number of facebook “likes” or comments from people was a true measure of worth for something.
Has society become so conditioned to social media that we can’t actually interact without it and if you don’t hit the like button fast or often enough on facebook or retweet on twitter then you aren’t a true friend, as this man believes. Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently I wasn’t a true friend because I didn’t “like” enough things on facebook. I would suggest that a true friend is one that gives honest feedback in the real world, face to face, rather than clicking a button on social media to satisfy a delicate ego.
A few years ago I remember over hearing two guys in a bar asking what the others gaydar profile was (I said it was a few years ago when gaydar was THE site) so that they could check each other out when they got home. I couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. They had the guy right in front of each other and could have gotten answers with the benefit of body language to help tell what was real and what was a lie, yet they wanted to go and look at carefully selected photos and even more carefully worded profiles.
I know there is a certain irony in this post, being critical of people living too much online and it being posted online and automatically feeding through twitter and having a “like” button at the bottom of the post but I interact with my friends face to face on a regular basis. I find a real life hug is much better than a digital “like” any day.