Do you have friends? Real friends? Or are they just Facebook friends? Maybe you have both. Maybe you have neither. I’m sure you have some.
Me? I have some. Probably around 600 give or take. Real friends and Facebook friends. Some even qualify under both categories. But are they all truly friends? Especially the ones on my Facebook list? I mean some of the people on my FB friends list I have never met. It’s like the term “Friend” is thrown around like a dirty old penny.
Many of the people on my FB friends list went to high school with me. Some of them were more acquaintances than friends. But we have kept in contact…a little. Some that were friends in high school would probably be more like acquaintances now because of how little communication (basically none) that we have had.
So what does any of this have to do with anything? Or maybe I should ask what any of this has to do with the title of my post? Actually, it is something I have thought about a lot lately. I have actually started to get bored with Facebook and part of the reason why is the lack of communication between me and my FB friends. So, I decided to conduct a little experiment by posting a simple little question on my wall asking for a response from my FB friends.
For those FB friends that responded, thanks. 25 out of 569 FB friends responded (although three of those 569 weren’t on my list when I posted the question). That equates to 4%. This did make me start to really think about the communication value of Facebook. But the question itself that was asked was worded specifically to test the influence of friends.
Some interesting facts about those that responded:
- They all know me personally, and many of them have known me for more than half of my life. (Now I didn’t expect any of my FB friends that haven’t met me personally to actually respond, but how cool would it have been if they had.)
- 2 of the respondents are directly related to me; with two more having ties through marriage.
- 4 of the respondents met me while I was living in another country.
- 6 of the respondents were my co-workers.
So, for the rest of you that are reading this that aren’t on my FB friends list, let me fill you in on a little more info. The question I asked was, “What imprint have I made on your life?”
I don’t think that the question was that hard to answer. However, I was a bit disappointed in the number of responses. I honestly thought I would get more. I asked a simple question. In fact, I opened myself up to criticism by telling everyone to respond even if that imprint was bad. I wouldn’t have been upset if someone had responded with a bad imprint. I know I have made some dumb choices in my life and said some really stupid things. I even acted without thinking a few times if you can believe it. So I figured there would be more responses than what I got with at least a few coming from people that haven’t had the greatest impressions of me. But there weren’t. Maybe I should be grateful.
One week after posting the question I was no longer receiving answers. No surprise there…the post was so far down on peoples timelines that they would only see it if they actually went to my profile page and scrolled through my postings. I decided that there wouldn’t be any more responses so I closed off the response period and move on to the analysis period.
The first part of the analysis period was actually making assumptions; that most people don’t really read my posts. Now I don’t know if that is true or not, but I decided it wasn’t important enough to dwell on. Maybe I will pretend that each FB friend actually read the post but just didn’t have time to respond. Or maybe they couldn’t narrow it down to one impression and didn’t want to list more than one. Or maybe it was something else, like their dog running away or the power going out.
The second part of the analysis period was making up excuses. Maybe more people read my post than what I think, however, they just didn’t care to respond. But if I am going to use that as an excuse I would have to know why they didn’t care to respond. There is no way I will know that unless I send a private message to each one asking why they didn’t respond. I don’t care about it so much to do something like that.
The third part of the analysis period was actually the analysis. As I read through the responses, it was interesting to note that most of the responses didn’t mention a specific thing that I said or did that left the impression. Instead, they seemed to be more focused on how I made them feel, or memories from an earlier time that included me. And you know what? I am good with those responses. And that is what ties this whole discussion to the topic title.
Some friends on Facebook are truly friends. They are people that will be friends even if Facebook goes away. Those are the type of people that responded to my post. Some friends on Facebook are merely acquaintances, those that come and go and don’t necessarily forget about you but rarely think about you either. Others are friends because you had a high school reunion coming up and that nostalgia set in as everyone started “friending” each other before the big event.
Then the least influential, or maybe in some rare cases the most influential of the list are those that have never met you, don’t share a career or social media path with you, or even want to follow you. They are the ones that send a friend request because you speak the same foreign language, or because you know someone in common so you “have” to be friends, or because they just want to increase their friend list count to show how many people they are friends with. Yes, these “friends” can be influential as well.
I want to share with you some of the responses that I received to the post. Some responses (from friends that I have known the longest) spoke about how happy and kind I was to everyone and the impact it made in their lives during specific time periods. I am glad that I could cheer people up and make them feel good (and yes Tamara, I did have bad days occasionally). Some spoke of dependability and hard work while others spoke of specific things that I did for them. Some responses spoke of things that I don’t even remember while others brought back memories that I hadn’t thought of in quite some time.
Yes, all of the responses had an impact on me, just like all friends will have an impact on your life. It doesn’t matter as much on how well you know them or how much you interact (although those two criteria do help at times), but rather on what is said and when. Like one response said, “people will forget what you did but they will never forget how you made them feel”. That one comment can sum up the influence of a Facebook friend. The communication doesn’t have to be frequent, but what is said in that communication will make all the difference.
So, what will your influence be?
Just another view from a Palmtree.