Tag Archives: facebook friends

A Friend is Someone Who Likes You

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops images of birds and bare trees in winter as she talks to herself and her dog.At seven o’clock in the morning, in the small woods next to my house, there was birdsong. Three different calls: melodious chirping, shrill cheep-cheeping, and clucking. Sweet welcoming sounds. Enticed by the opportunity to talk to someone other than my self or my dog, I called out to the birds, “Hey! It’s January. It’s a freezing polar vortex. What are you doing here?”

In answer, a sprinkling of birds dotted the sky overhead. Those birds. They were all out there singing, “Bring it on” and “Together, we can beat this thing.” And even though they were simply heralding in the new day, it reminded me of Facebook where recently I stated I wanted someone to say goodnight and good morning to (which is really kinda what birds do). Then, before I knew it, right on my laptop there’d been a whole chorus of cheering greetings. Good morning! Good morning. Goodnight.

Does anyone else remember the little book first published in 1958, titled A Friend is Someone Who Likes You, by Joan Walsh Anglund? She was right. Okay, I can hear you saying those people online aren’t really my friends. But Facebook brings new meaning to the words ‘friend’ and ‘likes.’ I got 83 likes from that single plea. On my birthday I got close to 200 birthday greetings. Strangers have stopped me in the gym saying, “We’re friends. On Facebook.” And because of all this attention I’m feeling warm and fuzzy as my dog.

The days may be dark and short. It may get stormy, with winds gusting fifty miles an hour and weather advisories warning to stay home and keep off the roads. Black ice. Temperatures and chill factors dropping below zero. Blizzards. Advancing polar fronts. Pipes in the house may freeze and burst. If the birds can thrive in this, so can I. I’ll cuddle up with the dog and a mug of cocoa, and go to Facebook where friends hang out at any hour of the day or night. Together, with all the likes and virtual hugs, we’re gonna make this winter great.

 

What do you do to survive the winter? What will you do to thrive in the next polar vortex?

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Following and Friending

Robin Botie of ithaca, New York, photoshops her drawing of tesselation puppies with a photograph of pond algae.A book I once read began with a proposal – what if all the lonely people in New York City were to open their windows at 11PM and howl into the night sky? To me this is the image of Facebook and Twitter, only, there the whole world is howling, and people from all over find and follow one another. The cacophony seeps into everyone’s emailboxes as each hollering is echoed and replied to, over and over. A recent yowling of my own on Facebook received a massive 90 likes. Lots of comments. I joyfully followed and friended and thanked as many fellow yowlers as I could.

My daughter blogged when she got cancer in 2008. Back then I thought blogging was some sort of techie cult activity; I didn’t dare visit her site. But people followed her and she felt supported. Following her death, I tried to follow her lead, first venturing into Facebook, eventually journeying on to Twitter and Pinterest. I set up my own website and blog. I followed all the rules, followed people’s advice, and followed my heart – and still ended up crying alone in the car every day. In a daze, I followed my friends who dragged me out of the house. I followed my dead daughter to Australia. I followed her dog into the woods, over streambeds, and through grassy fields.

These days I follow people in online groups: communities around child loss, cancer, gratitude, hiking, food, signs from departed loved ones. In the process of all this following, I apologize if I’ve become a nuisance, nagging you to “like” my new Facebook writer page, pestering you to subscribe to my blog. There are differences between followers and friends, I’ve learned. As an author building a platform, I value them both.

“All your hard work will soon be paid off,” reads the Chinese cookie-fortune taped onto my computer. It is paying off. The “friends” I’m finding by increasing my social media presence make me laugh. They make me cry. Mostly, they make me feel that I am not alone. In the middle of the night I tweet to a bloke in England. I chat with a mum in Australia. During my days dashing around Ithaca I smile, embarrassed, but delighted to be stopped.
“I loved your last blog,” said a woman at the gym, who I know only from Facebook.
“We’re “friends,” said a stranger in a restaurant, “on Facebook.”

 

Where do you find new friends? How does the internet add value to your life?

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