Saturday, May 31, 2014

We’re Friends, Right?

Have you ever noticed how many friends you have on Facebook? As of today, I have 1,123. Do I know this many people? Probably, and then some. Do I know them know them? Of course not.

Facebook hit the University of South Carolina the spring of my freshman year. Back then, you had to have a .edu address, and your school had to be a part of the facebook network. Just writing that makes me feel ancient. It was a big deal as we learned to navigate what was appropriate to post and what wasn’t. Thank goodness the rise of digital photography was a little behind my college days on facebook.

Since then, I’ve used facebook to stay in touch with a somewhat vast network of friends and acquaintances that I’ve met around the country and world. While I admit, I sometimes feel irritated by the content some people post, I enjoy the glimpse into their lives the social platform offers. How else would I know so and so got engaged, and so and so is pregnant, etc. These things, while trivial, help me feel connected to friends I no longer see every day, or even every year. I can keep up with them and all that’s going on in their lives, so when we do meet, we can pick up where we left off.

Mikel is an acquaintance from law school who also happens to be a facebook friend. While we maybe only spoke briefly once or twice during school, we inevitably became friends through the ‘book. This spring, Mikel launched a journey to meet (in person) his facebook friends: We’re Friends,Right?

I just love this idea and the extreme courage it takes to attempt something like this. Instead of jumping on the trend to defriend people he didn’t know on his friend list, Mikel is traveling the country and Minnesota to actively trying to meet and get to know his “friends.”

We met for coffee at Spyhouse in NE, one of my favorite local coffee shops. Sidenote – I love meeting people for coffee but I never actually drink coffee. I’m a tea or cocoa girl. But you just can’t say you are meeting someone for tea. It just sounds so pretentious. I digress.

While we began the meeting as strangers, our conversation flowed from one topic to another easily. Mikel genuinely wanted to learn more about me, even asking me about the nonprofit I’ve started and what I’ve been up to since law school. I think because we shared a bond of UST School of Law, we knew on a certain level, we had something in common. It felt a lot like my consultant days for Kappa when I’d meet hundreds of women where the only connection we had at first was our sorority.

We discovered we share a love of Seattle, and that he did his basic training at Fort Jackson, which is in Columbia, South Carolina, where I went to undergrad. Small world, huh? While it could be the start of a beautiful relationship, it was fun just getting to know someone a little better, to withhold judgment and really try to get to connect without a screen in between.

The thing with facebook (and Instagram, and twitter, etc.) is that it’s easy to forget the people behind their profiles are real. That they are humans with real feelings and dreams and troubles and struggles. I admire Mikel for getting out behind the computer screen and getting to know his facebook friends instead of simply defriending them. As his journey continues, he hopes he’ll continue to find the humanity within people, to remember that most likely they are good people, despite some of the annoying things on facebook. I get the feeling that the major life moments like graduation, engagements, marriages, babies, etc. are the type of posts he might stray away from…maybe not. I happen to enjoy them. I’ll like a newborn photo if it has a chance of letting that new mama/old friend from another time, that in her moment of joy, I’m thinking of her and her family. Why not? What do I have to lose?

Do you have a love/hate relationship with Facebook?


P.S. You can read about Mikel's take on our meet up here.

P.S. Have you ever been out and recognized someone but you couldn’t remember how you know them? Until you realize you don’t and you’ve only seen them in photos on facebook? Yeah, I have…awkward.


  1. I absolutely love this! I hope it's ok, but I shared it on my FB.

    And yes, I have recognized people out and about....but we were actually FB friends and I didn't realize it until after we passed. Ha! I'm definitely a FB friend collector. But I am convinced that I could have a thoughtful, fun conversation with almost all of them if given the opportunity.

    1. Hi Lo! What do they say, strangers are just friends you haven't met yet? Same goes on facebook!

      And yes, absolutely ok to share!


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