Chill’s Blog: Fans, Friends, and Followers
The language being used in internet social networking has been captivating me lately. It’s not so much a fascination with how easily we can all communicate with one another. Nor is it the intrigue of finding like-minded, like-hearted people with whom to connect. If either of those concepts were even slightly interesting to me, I would be considered old school since it is the way of the world today. And while I am definitely old school in the sense that I love face to face communication (I’ve never even been a huge user of phones except for necessity), I have become somewhat enamored by the variety of ways that social media is connecting us. Even more interesting is the enticing language that folks who established these social media waves use to make us feel like we belong. And isn’t that all any of us really want out of life, is to belong?
Fans? Yeah, right. Who truly is my fan? OK, I have at least one fan. My mom. I feel like it’s a pretty safe bet to say, even publicly. Other than Mom, I know I’d be pushing it to call anyone else a fan of mine. Fans, by definition, are fanatical. My mom is fanatical about me and my life. Well, actually, if I really think about it, maybe she’s not so much a fan as much as just she has to like me…and I think she has to like me A LOT in order to eligible for Mom of the Year Award. I am sitting here trying to decide if I am truly a fan of anything. Oh, heck yes I am! I am a fan of good food and good drink. I am completely fanatical about eating good food and drinking good drinks. Bad food and drink actually quite pisses me off. Other than that? Fortunately, I am fairly fond of exercising so that makes my being a fan of food and drink manageable. But even then, a fan? I don’t think so. I like it when the Giants (SF) win, but I wouldn’t call myself a fan. I like to surf, but fanatically? Nope. Sub 50 degree water or too many people keep me out of the water. On Facebook I am a fan of Boom Boom! Cards and, besides food and drink, that is probably the one thing that, when I start talking about, my heart beats a little faster and I have been known to spit (just a bit) as my excitement spills out.
Friends? Nothing better than a good friend. My mom used to say to me, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver, the other one gold.” I haven’t kept an inordinate number of old friends, but I do have a few that I cherish (you know who you are). And I have a few new ones also, although as most people would probably concur, the older I get the more difficult it is to make new friends. But here is where the internet can come to the rescue. All I have to do is click “confirm” and I have a new friend. Wow. Oh, if it were only this easy in life. Wouldn’t it be cool if, as you meet someone, you could hold up a sign that says, “confirm” or “ignore” and they would know instantly whether this friendship was going anywhere. It would make things so much easier. Internet “friends” are really close. I mean, I know if some of my friends are deciding what to eat for dinner, where to go on vacation and that they have added a new member to the family (animal or human). What cool stuff to know about someone who I rarely even talk to. I am a sentimentalist and love my friends. But I want to sit and have a glass of wine and talk in phrases or sentences that might be longer than 140 characters sometimes. Still, I have discovered some very cool things about folks who are my internet friends and I have reconnected with some old friends with whom I had lost contact. And I am beginning to think that the world is actually more like 3 degrees, not 6 degrees of separation.
Followers? Now that’s something I could get behind (pun totally intended). Who doesn’t want to be followed? That means you actually have something worth listening to or watching. Following means that there is some sense of leading, and who doesn’t want to be considered a leader? Since I was young I have been told that I am a natural leader so I am totally stoked that I finally have a place that easily gives me followers. I have to do virtually nothing but create an account and I get followers. How awesome is that? I have had the privilege for all of my adult life to stand in front of groups of people and speak my thoughts. As a high school teacher, most of the time I wondered if anyone was listening. And, now, as a national trainer, I am afraid that most people are. There is nothing more uncomfortable than being conscious of people listening to and watching me and making the decision whether to follow what I say or not. If I think about it too much, I kind of freak out. So, I just continue to talk about the good stuff that I fully believe in and let folks decide whether they want to follow or not. But it is not about following me or even my ideas. It is more about following what they know to be true in that moment as well as in their heart of hearts. I know that I have followed some folks in my life that I should have run from and there are some others whom I should have followed and I simply ignored. There has to be something in between following and ignoring…hmmmm…maybe we could just be friends and then eventually grow to become fans of each other.