In the past few days, several old friends have popped out of nowhere on Facebook. Unlike some stories about uncomfortable relationships and not really wanting to hear from people you thought you’d left behind, these were all people I was extremely happy to hear from.
That’s an amazing feeling.
But it got even better when I managed to have real-time chats through Facebook with a few of them. It was like 15 years evaporated (sheesh, I don’t feel old enough to say things like that). And then … and then I found Skype video. One of my best friends when I was 16 and I were text chatting and he asked me whether I had it. Being the tech dood that I am, I said to give me 2 minutes and I would.
Three minutes later, I was talking face-to-face with him. He lives near San Francisco, and I’m in DC. We haven’t spoken on the phone in more than 10 years. I literally can’t remember the last time I saw him. And there he was, filling my computer screen and smiling and laughing in ways that awoke long-established feelings. My grin in response was … let’s just say it was rather large.
Another friend of mine I’ve reconnected with recently called it “social media vertigo.” I think that’s perfect.
If you haven’t experienced it yet, get a Facebook account and start searching for people.
I started to write something about how this is connected to social media and gov’t, but it ended up a little forced. Let’s leave this as a feel-good story about social media in general, and figure out why it’s relevant to my job later.
But it certainly does reflect the amazing recent Facebook demographic stats.
Now, please share your stories!
This is so true, Jeffrey. I have yet to run into a former girlfriend, but I have reconnected with family friends and high school buddies galore. I recently visited with three friends, one who I hadn’t seen in a decade, reunited through Facebook. I also keep in better touch than I EVER did with e-mail with lots of long-distance close friends. Additionally, today I had a quick chat with a local business owner who found me through the local network. It’s really just an amazing tool.
Interestingly, I have cousins there, but no immediate family.
I also have noticed more of my high school classmates joining Facebook. And even though many of us still live near each other, we still don’t get to see each other all that often so Facebook allows us to connect and have fun. Our “can’t-believe-it-has-been-30-years” high school reunion is coming up next year so I am trying to encourage them to make a Facebook group to help us find everyone.
Social Networks Grow: Friending Mom and Dad
A connection between reprochement and better government doesn’t need to be too forced. Former head of OSTP Frank Press always said the greatest innovations come from discoveries in the ‘white space’ between disciplines. The hard part was getting the two disciplines to even notice eachother. Social networks, like Facebook, almost accidentally start to fill in the ‘white spaces’ in our life experiences whether they are seperated by time or space or experience (eg., family vs colleagues vs drinking buddies, etc). Serendipity is inevitable as this happens. Eventually that friend you haven’t spoken to for 10 years will help you find a solution to a problem you may not even know you had.
I’ve had a number of them along the way. My first experience was with Friendster about 10 years back where my 3rd great best-friend found me and we exchanged a number of emails. He had played college soccer, moved to L.A., and became a C-list actor (which is not too bad). My latest was an acquaintance from high school – previously he was a football star and we were in different worlds. Now, he was in Silicon Valley doing start-up work. I was out there for work and we re-connected over beers and know pick each other’s brains on a regular basis.
Noticed an uptick in high school friends on FB lately as well. Connected with an old friend and we just dropped right back into the conversation. It’s special when that happens, as your post describes.
Here are some more growth stats from Pew about social network use moving up the demo ladder: http://tinyurl.com/9lt99r
There is certainly been a sudden surge of school friends for me. One friend and I joked the other night that we are in our 30s (ahem) yet have known each other since we were in single digits. Another friend joked as we chatted on FB that we became friends before the internet really even existed. And now it’s the only way we chat! Nice to reconnect with good friends like that. Keeps you grounded and uplifted at the same time. Old friends are always good for the soul.
This is so true. I’ve found people I haven’t talked to since school. Groups and networks are awesome for reconnecting you with old friends, and people with common interests.