by Kassandra Lamb
Social media has changed the definition of friendship dramatically. I used to think this was a bad thing. Indeed, I believed it to be a horrible thing. As a psychologist, I was sure that people interacting mostly online rather than face-to-face would cause all kinds of stunted growth and twisted relationships.
And I’m sure that in some cases it does contributed to such stunting and twisting, but probably only in people who already had a predisposition to be stunted or twisted to begin with. And certainly the anonymity that is possible on social media has brought out the worst in a lot of people who think that bullying and trolling are great sport.
But I’ve made an amazing discovery.
As a writer, I had to get on social media, whether I liked the idea or not. And I didn’t like the idea, mostly because I’m rather technologically challenged. Besides, I’m an outgoing person, so I already had a large circle of friends, acquaintances and family members to keep up with.
But everyone kept telling me I needed a social media platform, whatever that was. So I got on Twitter and Pinterest and Facebook (technically I’m on Google+ but I don’t do much over there). Twitter and Pinterest are okay. I pop in there every few days.
The big discovery, though, has been that I love Facebook. Maybe it’s because, early on, an in-real-life friend got me into a closed writers’ group on FB, and they are so awesome! Their name says it all, the WANAs, which stands for We Are Not Alone. Their encouragement, support and unconditional acceptance has made a huge difference in my professional and personal life.
But I also found that I really liked Facebook as a way to stay in touch with in-real-life (IRL) friends and family, and as a way to make connections with new people.
I’m not one to send friend requests to strangers, nor do I go searching for followers or likes on my author page. On the other hand, I rarely say no to a friend request I receive, since the person may be asking because they’re a fan of my books. (And one never wants to turn away a fan!)
I currently have 326 friends and 27 followers on Facebook (this is on my personal profile, not my author page). I just went through the list and figured out who was who. Out of those 326 FB friends, 63 are IRL friends, acquaintances and family members.
Nineteen are folks whom I know to be fans of my books, and about fifty-four of them are random people who have sent me “friend” requests. I suspect a lot of those are also fans of my books (and probably most of the 27 followers as well).
And 173 of my FB friends are authors I have met online since starting this writing journey. Fourteen of these folks I have now gotten together with in person as well.
Oh, and ten of those FB “friends” are dirty old men whom I haven’t gotten around to “unfriending” yet. (“Hello pretty lady, you have such a nice smile…”)
Sounds like a lot of virtual (and I mean that both ways) strangers to deal with, doesn’t it? But you know what… about fifteen percent of those authors, fans and random folks have truly become friends of mine through our interactions on FB.
I feel like I “know” these folks as well as, if not better than some of my IRL friends and family. I cry when bad things happen in their lives and I cheer when things are going well. And I know I can count on them to have my back! I can describe their personalities, tell you whether they’re coupled or single, and whether they’re a dog or a cat person (if they’re into snakes, I am NOT going out of my way to meet them IRL…lol).
I’ve shared things with them (in closed groups, private messages and emails) that only my closest IRL friends know about. And I’ve gotten the same quality of support back from them as I get from my fabulous IRL friends.
And another cool thing about these FB friends is that they are scattered all over the country and the world. I have friends in Texas and California and Michigan and Hawaii, and also in Newfoundland and Canada and India and England and Scotland and Australia and New Zealand…
I’ve also discovered a couple of people who turned out to live within an easy drive from my home, and they are now IRL friends!
So my attitude has changed dramatically about social media. Oh, I still hate that the trolls and the haters misuse it. But overall I think it’s a great way to make and maintain connections with people.
And I’m inviting all of you, as well as all of my FB friends, to come to a Facebook party today to celebrate something really important to me! Book 1 in my new series is officially being launched today. The series is about a young woman who trains service dogs for combat veterans with PTSD.
I’m so excited about this series!!
There will be games and prizes and all sorts of fun interactions. It’s happening TODAY between 2 and 8 p.m. EDT, at this link. Please click over and join us!!
Oh, and here is the adorable cover of the book (thanks to one of my wonderful online friends, cover designer Melinda VanLone, whom I have now met in person!)
Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha) likes to think of herself as a normal person, even though she has a rather abnormal vocation. She trains service dogs for combat veterans with PTSD. Then the ex-Marine owner of her first trainee is accused of murdering his wife, and Marcia gets sucked into an even more abnormal avocation–amateur sleuth.
Called in to dog-sit the Labrador service dog, Buddy, she’s outraged that his veteran owner is being presumed guilty until proven innocent. With Buddy’s help, she tries to uncover the real killer.
Even after the hunky local sheriff politely tells her to butt out, Marcia keeps poking around. Until the killer finally pokes back.
It will be at the intro price of just $1.99 through the party! (then it goes up.)
Has social media changed your friendships? Has it been for better or worse, or some of both?
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington psychological suspense series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy cozy mysteries, set in Central Florida.
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