Monday 14 February 2011

Social Networking, Citizenship and Friendship.

Lately it seems that all my posts come with a disclaimer, so I won't make one today even though I probably should.

I am addicted to Facebook (FB) - I love catching up with friends and family who are far away. We may also have created a private group for Coffee Group... Lovely private space to bitch about things and ask dumb questions without husbands and mother in laws *everyone* knowing. In fact I have some friends on FB that I have never actually met in person... We met on a forum and have kept up the e-friendship. I love hearing about their lives and their kids lives and one day I know we will meet up and have a great yack over coffee.

Just in case you think I am one of those weird people with 1000 friends on FB - I'm not, I have at, last count, 120. I don't see the point in keeping up with the people I sat behind in kindy... I often cull "friends" - if they aren't making any effort to connect after friending me, why should I be hearing about their holidays in Tenerife or their latest botox and butt lifts? (Some girls never change)

I am so happy to say that my current friend list has people on it who interact with me... Not daily, weekly or monthly for some, they are just there when they need to be... I am the same, I comment when moved to or if I see a link I know they'll be into, I share it with them. I would do it by phone if I was in the same country as them.

But as it did this weekend, when I posted about  receiving our letters about  our citizenship ceremony, the dangers of "keeping it short" no body language and facial expression, no tone of voice, caused me (and a friend) a lot of hurt. I made a comment which most people took the way it was intended...

I said in the comments section "I am so glad to get rid of the passport" 

Most people who were interested in my status update, took it in the way it was meant - 
  "Thank goodness I don't have to stress about not having the same passport as Monkey; no more stressing about visas, no more spending money on red tape..." 

And if they didn't they kept their thoughts to themselves and celebrated with me.

But one very dear friend made a comment via text that was hurtful (and I admit I took it badly). She is very supportive of SA and I admire her for that, and she stood up for SA and told me not to bash the country I lived in for twenty two years. There was a text argument, which lead to an email argument, tears and finally a phone call. (We are all good now.)

But I know that if we were face to face we wouldn't have had the argument in the first place. Or would we? 

As with most of my FB friends - it's been years since we saw each other. We have both grown up and experienced many things. How does friendship survive that? If you are in contact physically and verbally you are growing at the same time and experiencing each others growth, which makes it easier to live with those changes.
Any advice on global friendships? 


  1. Ooh, good post! Global friendships are hard, you're right that tone doesn't come through on Facebook or email. And then there's the baggage that comes from you having left, which a lot of people automatically take as a judgement on them deciding to stay.

    I wish there was a fix for it!

  2. O cool I didn't realise you were from SA. I lived in Joburg for the first 19 years of my life.
    And I love I still love it.
    But I am looking forward to the day when I change my citizenship (when will we ever have a spare $500 though?!!) to cut all the visa hassle.
    You weren't being disloyal, just real.


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