Filling up space with old blogs...
I have about 60 friends on Facebook, and 200 on myspace. I don't know the vast majority of the myspace ones, as they are fans of my music (or more likely I am a fan of theirs, or we are all deluding ourselves.)
Of my Facebook friends, I know all of them. At some point in my life I have met, dated, married, gone to school with, been related to or worked with them all. I like them. there was one chap on my list who I used to work with, but I realised I never got on with him that well, so I stopped being friends with him.
People find it strange that so many of us have people we consider friends who we never meet. (I have had friends who I have never "met" - only spoken to on-line.) The truth is, that Facebook has an equivalent in old peoples lives.
the "Christmas Card Friend".
Every year, my parents send and receive so many cards they have to go out for extra blu tac just to attach them to the doors, windows, mantelpiece and any other appropriate surface. many of these will have a personal message, about how the kids are doing, great auntie Marjorie's latest bunion update and their new address.
Every day when I'm on-line, I check on Facebook and i find out far more interesting and often personal things about my friends. Lisa is glad its Friday. Max is off to Manchester, Dan is tired. Stu is about to sneeze.
If Sarah goes inter-railing, she comes home, and puts photos on-line. I am told this, so I look at them, and share the experience. I can comment on them and welcome her home.
A conversation on Facebook can take several days, and only be a few words, but at least it happens. Many of my Facebook friends aren't people I phone regularly, if ever at all. (I don't phone my grandma, and she doesn't phone me, but we both know we are there, and love each other very much, we aren't any less friends because of this. (she's not on Facebook by the way - but it would be even better if she was).
Long since deleted from this site, is a letter I sent to some of my closest group of friends, berating them for the effort they put into our relationships. Although it would be vain of me to suggest that the timing of this almost ruined Simon's stag weekend, I'm sure it didn't go down well, and I've felt bad about it ever since.
The outcome of that letter, and the replies I received from the lads, was that I realised that friendship is not necessarily about how often you call, visit, write to or email your friends.
It is about being there when you need them, caring enough about them to want to be there, and enjoying whatever interaction you do have, be it an email every 6 months, a phone call every week, or just knowing that Chris and Sam have added "deep blue something" to their favorite music.
I like it that way.