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Sunday, 20 May 2018

Facebook's False Friendship

Facebook is one of the few places in the world - if only places - where everyone seems to legitimately have hundreds of friends. My current facebook friends list stands at 509. In reality, the number of true friends I have is probably around 5.9. Ok, a little more.

I just made another facebook page - I say 'another' because I have one for my music, and just made another one exclusively for my writing. I've got fictional works that I want to self-publish this year, and feel it would be good to have a social media platform besides my blog where I can post about my literary works. I have a link to this newly created facebook writer page you can check out here or at the side of my beautiful blog.

I was scrolling through the 'invite friends to like this page' list. Most of the people on my facebook friends list - i.e. the people I went to school and go to uni with - know me as a musician, not as a writer, because its very easy to show people you're a musician via videos or playing live, but not so easy to show you're a writer. Writing tends to be a more introverted activity, whereas music is extroverted and clear to everyone.

I say this because when I invited my facebook friends to like my musician page, I pretty much clicked on every single person on my friend list. With my writer page, I was a bit more selective, thinking 'does so-and-so even know I write? Do they care? Would they read anything I've written?'
The thing about blogging is I have no idea who reads my posts - I mean yeah, people comment here and on Google Plus and now and again on Facebook, but I'm pretty much throwing stones without seeing where they land.

And now to get to the point. As I looked through the names of these people I am allegedly friends with, I thought to myself 'who are you? Do I know you? Do you know me? Have we ever had a real life conversation?' Unsurprisingly, I bet most people feel that way when they scroll through their facebook 'friend' list. The word friend is used, but in most cases they're barely an acquaintance. These are just people you add because you study or work together. Most of the people from my uni who I add on facebook I don't know; I accept their requests for networking purposes as I mostly use social media to promote myself artistically.

But these people don't know me and I don't know them. Even those we share classes with and talk to about stuff don't really know us or what goes through our head. For each of us on this planet there's probably a tiny handful of people we feel really and truly understand us, and even then no one can understand you fully, especially if you're the complex emotionally-unstable type like moi.

Facebook is a way to make us feel more connected, but in turn can make us feel incredibly isolated. This isn't some major revelation - it's been circling the social media discussion for years, and there are videos about it. The surge in mental illness has been attributed partially to social media - or anti-social media, I may say.

So what's the solution? Well, I'm not suggesting we have only our closest and dearest friends on facebook. I suppose it depends on what you use facebook for; some probably do only have their nearest and dearest on it. For me, facebook, twitter, instagram and google plus are all platforms I use to boost my online presence regarding the creative arts. In that sense, the ability to connect with people who don't know me is ok as more viewers = better exposure for me. But for those who use it for more personal reasons, maybe the word 'friend' should be taken lightly when it comes to social media.

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  1. I don't see the problem with having acquaintances to see from time to time, or people that only chat online.

    Close friends usually happen to be a mere handful of people, ideally quality over quantity.

    It isn't healthy to put value on how many friends one has or likes etc, so I think that's what can be detrimental to mental health for certain people.

    1. I agree, there's nothing at all wrong with having acquaintances. I think facebook can give a false sense of illusion though about who your real friends are, particularly to those who are more emotionally vulnerable.


I'm Zarina Macha, an author, blogger, and musician from London. I write about stuff on the internet 'cos having opinions is fun -- if you want to join the games, please note your thoughts below. All thoughts welcome, even if they're mean (just no spam links please -- can't tell you what a liability those are to remove).
I've also published three YA fiction books and two poetry volumes. To check em out, copy and paste this link into your browser: