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so that’s why they call it social media

15 May, 2017

There is an old Irish saying that there is no such things as strangers, just friends you are yet to meet. This is particularly apt in this mobile-technology, social-media age. Not only is the whole world in your pocket but you can talk with it, lecture it, learn from it, argue with it, send videos of cats to it, and even become its friend.

On Facebook, for example, I am friends with several people I have never met, but theyare friends of friends and we have e-met that way. And by “friends” I mean we started of as friends in the Facebook sense, but now I count them as real friends. Since I started keeping pet hamsters two years ago (when Amelie came to live with me, although she has since passed and Hafi is now my flatmate) I joined a few hamster groups and through this have become friends with people I have never met. And In July, a real-world friend and I are off on a roadtrip to the North of the country to meet one of those friends. How exciting, I thought, this will be the highlight of the year.

Turns out I was wrong.

Because a couple of weeks ago, I had a message from a blogging friend saying she will be visiting the UK later in the year and would I be free to meet? Too bloody right I will be free! We have been chatting on and off for most of the five years we have both been on WordPress, but the Atlantic has always separated us. Three or so years ago we nearly met when she was heading to Germany but the logistics didn’t work out and we couldn’t sort it. But this time, this year, she will be in London, just over an hour from me, and it’s definitely going to happen.

We have emailed many times, we have swapped photos, we have skyped. And since we reconnected a fortnight ago, we have been whatsapping, texting every day and – the hugest thrill – having actual conversations again. The most recent occasion being a recent morning when she was bursting to pass on some news but everyone her side of the pond was in bed as it was the early hours over there. Luckily, she said, she knew I would be awake and so we chatted and she passed on her news while she was driving and I was laid in bed thousands of miles away. Isn’t technology wonderful? And I was thrilled that she thought of me to tell her news to. Not that I can tell you what that news was because a Gentleman never tells.

Normally I am terrified of meeting people, I am unsettled by the new, uncomfortable with anything outside my comfort zone. But I guess this time it’s different, there is no fear. Because although we have never physically been in the same place, it feels like we met five years ago, and even then we got on so well it felt like we knew each other already. So there is no new to be unsettled by. I won’t be outside my comfort zone because she has been inside it all this time.

We will take in the sights of London, we will eat, we will drink, we will visit Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, we will see a performance of King Lear…. But I could do this anytime, with anyone or even on my own. The most exciting part, the bit that has me smiling whenever I think about it, will be chatting, gossiping, laughing, spending time together. And most hugely exciting of all will be when we finally meet in person. I’m sure we will meet again in the future, hopefully many times, but there is only one first time. One first moment, one first sight, one first hello, one first smile.

From → Blogging, My Head

  1. “I won’t be outside my comfort zone because she has been inside it all this time.”

    That is one of the nicest things I think I have ever read about anyone.

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