Wednesday, November 7, 2012
"I love you all"
Oh my God! A follower on Twitter stopped following me! What have I done? Why don’t they like me any longer! How did I offend them? Or did I simply bore them? I wouldn’t be so devastated if I had thousands of followers – I doubt that I would notice. But when one of my tiny handful suddenly disappears, when fourteen followers suddenly becomes only thirteen… I am not loved!
Then I realise I have no idea who it even was. I look down the list. Who is not there now that was there yesterday? I have no idea. See! So there! I didn’t even notice you! Take that!
That's all a little silly, I know. Yet there is a more serious side to it. One’s worth today seems to be measured in terms how many followers one has on Twitter, how many friends one has on Facebook. People talk about this as if it actually means something. I’m sure there are people out there who are devastated to realise that their best friend has ten more followers than they do. Businesses think it means something too. And who am I to question the profound insights of the marketing community?
But I wonder. If I have 5,000 friends on Facebook, isn’t that pretty much the same as having none? Yet another word shifting its meaning in our culture: Friend.
Of course, when a celebrity stands there in front of the camera, waving and blowing kisses, saying “I love you all”; or, these days, when they Tweet it to all their followers – I know they mean me. Don’t they?