Thursday, 12 May 2016

Facebook Friends

Before I was a parent I had a great social life but in comparison to now it is non-existent; Facebook has made me realise this recently.
The boys Mum and I had a little circle of friends each and we often found ourselves doing something. Now, don’t get me wrong, we were far from the social butterflies that many people are but we were still offered to go out.

Then a few things happened.
Firstly, we became parents; up until these last few months we were the only people within our social circles who were parents. This made it extremely difficult to hold on to many of the relationships that we had built up:

“Want to come out and drink until we don’t remember our names?”
“No, sorry, we can’t we will have to get up early and have responsibilities”

Secondly, we separated and got divorced; many of our friends were part of couples and our separation made things difficult. This then had the added factor of the “sides” that people took; it happens and it was bound to happen to us.
So by the age of 30 I had lost many of the friendships that I had built up and although some were loyal and stuck around they were few and far between.

I then had my nervous breakdown and this, obviously, took its toll on some of the remaining friendships. Mental health still has that negative stigma attached to it and some people struggle with it and, sadly, find it is easier to avoid than talk about it; this is especially true if you are a man.
Realistically I have a handful of friends that I speak to let alone spend time with. I may joke on social media that I am a hermit but there lies a lot more truth.

Social media showed this decline through its interactions and what was Social media became far from social.
Since I started openly blogging my amount of friend’s has increased from 150 to around 240; this is great and I love that many of you have spoken to me on Twitter or have read this blog and have subsequently wanted to add me.
Yet, there is a massive difference visually to my Facebook activity.

Prior to blogging, and with my 150 friends, I would post something and get 1 or 2 likes and that would be it, despite my active use of social media and others I shared it with.
Blogging has changed this completely and it is only because of the “Facebook memories” that I have noticed.


 (Note the 8 comments were actually one person and I having a conversation before FB changed and made replies)


Is it then down to the fact that we, as bloggers, have a greater understanding of social media and how to react? Or is it because we are in the blogging “club” so understand the more exciting things that can happen for us?
Recently I have had some exciting events to share; I was able to share that I am a Dad writer for Salisbury Parenting and that I had made the shortlist finalists for the MAD Awards

In these situations my post were getting a lovely response from many people I would call my friends but in reality I have never met any of the people and it’s “just” online relationships.

The same has happened this week when I have asked for help with the Boys Home Ed topic of rivers, streams and beaches; one photo up and people are liking, commenting and sharing.

However, in each of these scenarios it is bloggers doing the work. I actually sat and worked out the above and only 2% of the interactions are from people that I have known prior to blogging; my immediate family members don't even like or comment.

I am not sure if this is a reinforcement of what my friendships are like due to the circumstances mention at the beginning or if my real life friends don’t care about what happens in mine and the boy’s life? There may be the added factor that I am a parent blogger so my friends are parent bloggers and this produces more people that are genuinely interested in the parenting side of my life than maybe the others are?
I am extremely thankful for all my blogging friends on there because I think without them I’m sure my Facebook would be very dull. I also know that I have met some of my closest friends through blogging so I have that benefit too; which I know others have found the same.

How do others find Facebook interactions?
Do you still have a social life within social media that is outside of blogging?
Or is it full of other bloggers?

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