Tag Archives: Facebook

The Power of Friendship & Has Social Media Changed The Face of Friendship?

22 Aug

I have always been somebody who has ardently valued friendships.  Growing up with a sister who was fifteen years older than me I experienced the childhood of an ‘only child.’  Also moving home often as a youngster meant that friendships were forged and then suddenly gone forever.   So as I reached my teens and then beyond, the bonds of friendship became massively significant to me.

My friendships thankfully have always been very eclectic.  Men, women, gay, straight, old young my mix of friends has always been a very heady brew.  If I had to define a common trait it would perhaps be a well honed sense of humour.

When working at Guildford University at the tender age of nineteen, I experienced something that both troubled and puzzled me for years afterwards.  I got on very well with both students (who were of course my age) and staff.  I formed a good friendship with one of the other conference organisers a woman who was in her mid-forties.   We would often meet up and for lunch or coffee.  Julie (for that is the name I shall use) was great fun.  We had the same sense of the ridiculous and she was an extremely interesting person.  Married with two children I enjoyed listening about her life and her sharing her wit and wisdom on the day’s events.  Then one day, at a prearranged lunch.  Julie nervously told me that she “didn’t think we should be friends any more as there was too big an age difference between us and that people would talk.”  I was mortified I had absolutely no idea what she meant.  Why would people care if two adults were friends but were in a different age group?  I remember the tears coming too quickly to my eyes and feeling extremely confused and actually acutely embarrassed.

I never arranged another lunch date or coffee break with Julie again.  Whenever I saw her at work after that awkward conversation, she would avoid eye contact with me and look rather uncomfortable.

Well has true friendship changed in our social media age?  I think the face of friendship has changed forever!  I know many people debate how genuine friendships founded on social media sites actually are.

If I look at my rather large list of friends, I see school friends that had been lost forever now back on that list.  I adore the fact that some of the folks that as a younger me I didn’t really connect that much with, are now some of the wittiest and cleverest people I know.  How wonderful social media gave me that chance to connect with them again.

I have friends on my list that I have met from all around the world, Facebook gives me the chance to keep in touch with these people I shared wonderful times with.  I also have new friends, some that I have actually met on social media, it has afforded me the opportunity to become firm friends with people I never would have been granted the grace of meeting.  I have also become close to people I have actually admired from afar for years.

On the flipside social media has on the odd one or two unfortunate occasions shown me a darker side of somebody who I have been personally close to.  You can only hide your real self for so long online before your true face surfaces.  Amazing that you can be in somebody’s company but it takes long-term online exposure sometimes for a darker side to that person to reveal itself.

Social media has changed the way we manage our friendships.  No avoiding phone calls or forgetting birthdays.  We diligently wish our friends Happy Birthday.  We message them if they are having a bad day. We actually partake in their lives a lot more now than we used to.

We can argue and debate at length the merits of social media friendship.  What I really want to know is, would in this enlightened day and age Julie still consider our friendship potentially ‘controversial?’  Has our accessibility to make friends from such a diverse spectrum stopped the old-fashioned constraints of friendship?  I sincerely hope it has.

So, I raise a glass to all my friends; young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight, famous, infamous and damn right outrageous.  Long may our differences continue to unite us!




26 Aug



26 Aug

I have so many vivid memories of being incredibly bored as a child.  Sure growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s were halcyon days for many things.  The music scene was wonderfully vibrant and packed with passion, inventiveness and emerging icons.  Young people were possibly more politically engaged in their environment than they are now and we certainly felt that we could change politicians policies on everything from nuclear disarmament  to apartheid and we did make a change.  

The Problem being though, we could fall into the trap of thinking that those years were idyllic to be young and that life has become so much more caught up with technology and interacting via a phone, tablet or laptop screen that nobody really communicates any more.  Which of course is true,to an extent.  But what about the merits?  If social networking and the internet is so awful, then how come so many of us are so hooked and almost reliant on it on a daily basis?  You can’t un-invent the wheel, it’s here to stay.

So let’s just stop for a bit and really try and remember some of the negatives about growing up without the internet, Facebook and Twitter.  I clearly remember having a blue plastic transistor radio that had a white sticky one eared earpiece that allowed my solitary ear to listen to an unbearably crackly radio Luxembourg whilst going to bed early due to sheer boredom.  If I was a similar age today, I would be able to keep in contact with my friends via Facebook.  This  would have been wonderful as the school I went to we were drawn from such a large catchment area you could be up to twenty miles away from your friends.

I could also have tweeted all my favourite pop stars.  Just imagine for one moment if Twitter had been around when the Sex Pistols had emerged or when Boy George had actually been at the height of Culture Club.  All that drama with Jon Moss played out on Twitter, the horror at his first appearance on Top of the Pops.   We are often misguidedly nostalgic about the past, let’s just imagine if we could combine the best of the present and the past!

 The possibilities are endless.  So this got me to thinking about even more outlandish Twitter scenarios.  So just grant me a little madness.  Imagine if Twitter had been available in the 1960’s.  All those stars that died before the social media explosion.  What would they have been like?  Maybe something like this…..


Voice over:  ‘AND ACTION’ 

Character #1:  (thick northern accent)

‘It’s like this lad, that grammar school has given you fancy ideas, but you’re still a miner’s son and in their eyes you will only ever be fit for t’pit’.

Character #2: (slightly less thick northern accent)

‘You don’t get it do you dad, it’s 1962 times are changing, I’m going to be somebody these hands are for writing not slag heaps ‘.

 Voice over:   ‘AND CUT’ 

Character #1: (now with posh theatrical accent)

 ‘Darling you were wonderful, loving the northern accent, could almost smell the whippet excrement on your clogs’.

Character #2 : (also now posh theatrical accent)

‘Thank-you sweetie, called Larry Olivier last week and he gave me some pointers’

Character #1:

‘Oh dear dear Lal, does he follow you on Twitter’?

Character #2:

 (pause) ‘No…you’?

Character #1

‘Oh yes babe, Facebook too, even gives me the odd poke now and then’. 

Character #2 

‘Gielgud follows me too so does Ralph, darling Ralph poor thing he’s not quite mastered the hash tag yet, but he’s a game old thing and nothing if not belligerent’.

Character #1

‘Between you and me I had a tragically embarrassing tweet yesterday from Noel Coward, the poor love, life’s moved on nobody wants cigarette holders and cravats anymore, it’s all vests, sweat and roll-ups, but Nolly just can’t stoop, thank God he has Twitter to occupy him’. 

Character #2: 

Hope you don’t mind me being a nosy bitch but How many followers do you have dear’?

 Character #1:

‘120,000 had to block a few, after the hoo hah over my Fidel Castro tweet, Hattie Jacques got quite personal’.  


Character #2:

‘Here we go sweetness once more unto the northern speech dear friend.

Oh buggeration I never got to update my status ……..