Being Social in a Social Media World

The other night I got drinks with a woman who reached out after reading my essay on CNN.com. She moved to Chicago from California about five years ago and lives with her fiancé, but said she could relate to my plight because while she has girlfriends here, they are mostly younger and in different life stages and just not the same as her BFFs from home. So we made a date.

It went really well—easy chatter, a few beers, important discussion about E! news and John Ritter (separately, of course). We talked about friendship in today’s world, both acutely aware that we were looking to see if we gelled. I thought we did.  One date does not a BFF make, but still, it was encouraging.

Yesterday we became Facebook friends and on her page I noticed she too has a blog. Like any good Facebook stalker, I checked it out. The most recent post is dated March 17. The first sentence: “I haven’t really written much about this, but I am going on a Blind Friend Date tonight.” Oh my god this post is about me!!! I couldn’t believe it. This really is friend-making in the digital age. Here I am writing a post about her post about my post… or something.

I get that it’s silly to be surprised that someone else is blogging about our date when here I am doing the same thing. But still, I am surprised. Blogging is new to me, and though I know there’s a big bad blogosphere out there, I know very few other people personally who participate. When you spend your life as the observer, you forget that somewhere someone’s watching you.

Social media has completely revamped relationships. There’s a fascinating article in today’s New York Times about couples fighting over Facebook. I’ve heard plenty of stories of friends getting angry over someone else’s away message, or employees dissecting Twitter for a clue to their boss’s mood. The Times article captures the reason my husband refuses to go on Facebook or Twitter or any such site…he didn’t even have Instant Messenger in college. Too many opportunities to be misunderstood and create unnecessary drama, he said. This article proves his point. We live in a world where you can google or facebook a date (of the romantic or friend variety) in advance, and find a cyberspace recap of the outing the next day.

It’s a voyeur’s fantasy, but does it change how I should approach this search? The last time I consciously went looking for friends,  a facebook was an actual book, printed on actual paper, with the names and majors of my freshman classmates. Things are a tad different now.

On her blog, my girl-date said she was nervous. Really? I never would have known. She worried that she had no idea what she’d say. Could’ve fooled me, the conversation was seamless. She wrote, “All I can do is be myself and know there is a mutual camaraderie in the fact that we are even brave enough to do this.” So true. In closing, she made a promise. “I will keep you posted on how it goes, good or bad.”

I’m waiting on the edge of my seat.

7 Comments

Filed under The Search

7 responses to “Being Social in a Social Media World

  1. What fun!
    Good luck on the blind date.
    I agree about all of the ways that social media has changed and mutated our real-life social interactions (Well, duh). I think there is a sense of being really in touch that is somewhat real and still, somehow, somewhat artificial. I think about this a lot.
    Can’t wait to hear about the date!

  2. Interesting, it’s like you get to read the review on your own bff date! It definitely adds a new angle to your quest, seeing it from that perspective. Now the question … will you leave a comment on her post ;)

  3. Found you thru IslandRoar. I remember how hard it was to make friends when I lived in Houston. I worked all of the time, I had no children to pave the way…I remember at one point I joined a website that Elle Magazine started. I felt pathetic and my participation didn’t last long once my ex-husband’s new wife tried to “friend” me. Once we moved to a smaller city, everything changed. And maybe it’s because I’m older, and braver, and willing to “put myself out there” more so than when I was young. I read the New York Times article. I’m seriously thinking about ditching Facebook.

  4. This needs to be an essay for a magazine. This is hilarious!! I love it. I can see you both pretending on your next date that you haven’t read each other’s blogs, trying to act natural, desperate for another good review. Although I guess now the cat’s outta the bag since you revealed that you read hers… Keep us posted on date #2. :)

  5. Pingback: She Liked Me, She Really Liked Me! « MWF Seeking BFF

  6. Pingback: The Hard Facts: That’s What Unfriends Are For « MWF Seeking BFF

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