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What A Facebook Picture Taught Me About My Friends

August 5, 2015

I got to do something very special on Sunday. I got To participate in blessing my newest granddaughter. Like many grandparents, I’m very proud of my daughter and absolutely in love with my granddaughter. 

I didn’t post it to facebook. 

Most of the people who read this blog everyday get it emailed to them. (Thank you for deciding what I’ve said in the past was good enough that you’d like to read what I write in the future, sight unseen.) Of the people who browse to this page, most of them come from facebook. If the link between WordPress (my blogging platform) and facebook breaks, I know it from the drop in views. 

I know a lot of people who are very careful about who they add to their friends list on social media. Although I don’t add everyone (I’m Sorry We Can’t Be Friends Anymore), I tend to add most people. (Yes, Person That I’ve Never Met, I’ll Add You.) I’m a writer and social media is my publishing platform. People who want to be my facebook friends or connections on LinkedIn, or followers on Twitter are potential readers. And they are the best kind of readers. They chose to follow me. 

So, it might be surprising to some that not only didn’t I post about the baby blessing, I also didn’t upload a picture of my granddaughter. (She looks a lot like the baby in Ice Age, but cuter.) It’s more the fact that I Don’t Tell Other People’s Stories. However, there is currently a picture of my gorgeous daughter and my beautiful granddaughter on my page. 

My daughter chose to post the picture. She got to tell the story. Naturally, some people commented and more LIKED the picture. I noticed something interesting as I was scrolling through the dozens of people who hit LIKE on her picture. Those with whom I shared the most friends in common were not the friends I shared the most in common with. 

High School

Like lots of people, I use facebook to keep in contact with old high school friends. The number of shared connections with high school friends ranged from 20-70. I never see these people. Other than a couple that I’ve stayed close to, I don’t share much in common with them. And yet, they make up one of the biggest facebook groups I’m connected to.

Comedians

I have a lot of friends in the comedy scene, especially in Salt Lake. Some of the comics and I share 75 people in common. and while I do enjoy going to shows and have always loved standup comedy, I really share very little in common with these very funny people. 

Facebook  Political Friends

I have a group of friends with whom I enjoy talking politics. We typically keep it off our pages. I especially enjoy talking to poeple with whom I disagree. My facebook time is often spent talking about the presidential campaign, or the political scandal of the day. And yet, these friends, whom I interact with multiple times per week share only a few friends in common; a dozen or less. 

Professional Organizations

I’m a member of both the Masons and Toastmasters. I attended a Toastmasters meeting yesterday. Mason lodge meetings are once a month. When I attend these meetings, I actually have to interact with people in person. And yet, I share only a dozen or so friends in common. And these are people I see and talk to often. 

Family

I have a big family and married into a large extended family. Some family members and I share over 60 friends in common. Yet, one of the people who liked the photo was one of my other daughters. She and I share three friends in common. However, I would much rather spend the afternoon with her than almost anyone I know. 

My Best Friend

Actually, my best friend didn’t like the picture. He’s not on facebook. But, his wife did. She’s also a close friend. I attended their wedding 15 years ago. I’ve stayed at their house. She is one of the people who I know I could call at anytime day or night for a favor and she and my friend would literally do anything for me. We share three facebook friends in common. 

So, what did I learn about my friends? Social media gives us (at least me) a false sense of relationships. Those people with whom I share the most friends in common are the people I am the least close to. The people who are closest to me, the ones who mean the most to me don’t share a lot of facebook friends in common with me. 

Facebook doesn’t have the concept of acquaintances as opposed to friends. And while I appreciate all my acquaintances, I’m grateful for my true friends. 

I hope you are too. 

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday at 7:00 AM Mountain Time. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren. 

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2015 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved 

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