This post is dedicated to old school, classic friendships. Friends who call, care, and criticise; friends who share our real lives even in the hustlebustle of work and away from the busy lanes of #socialmedia.
Friends who, no matter what your actual relationship with them – spouse, parent, sibling, colleague – make life pop out of the touchscreen.
Once upon a time, ‘Growing Up’ was a lot simpler. You kinda transitioned into a role, donned the mantle, and had trophies – family, kids, home, car – to show for it.
You also dressed ‘adult’, you talked ‘boring’, you watched news while you ate. Your classic, old-school friends you grew up with, or your chaddi-buddies as we Indians say in Hinglish, took the backseat.
You became friends by association with friends of your children’s friends at school. You worried about too many things other than yourself.
When you met your chaddi-buddy, you stared at the other trying to look for traces of your old friend, wondering if they were doing the same. They are the ones you relied on when tragedy struck. They didn’t need to see your brave face.
Above all else, you relied on them for understanding. You knew they understood your “growing up” needs and you understood theirs. They too were on a similar track, of course.
They are your home away from home, like your parents’ furniture – dated and worn-out, but comfortable as hell.
This new age has changed that for us. For most of us now, it is one or two kids max – if at all that (there’s a growing tribe of Double Income No Kids); jobs are a necessity and we’re constantly knee-deep in our efforts to “keep up” at work, family life, social life, travel, personal goals, education.
More likes. More shares. More followers. More pay. More peace.
To get fitter. Smarter. Better.
To find more time. Find more opportunities (to make money, to network, to cut expenses…).
It’s not easy. Not even with touch-screens or tablet computers. If anything, it has added one more layer to be screened when working out friendships.
As far as friendship goes, #socialmedia has changed its landscape.
Facebook started out as a social media networking site by appropriating the term ‘friend’ when it conveyed a warm… fuzzy… feeling. Today, with nearly a third of the world’s population on it now, Facebook is a social media marketing behemoth.
Facebook is now a destination of choice for advertisers, sellers, pollsters, newscasters, opinion-makers, lobbyists, artists, and… everyone wants to be friends here. Hey, it’s what friends do.
You’re not alone if you don’t do your friend ‘things’ there anymore. Let’s face it, nowadays, there are friends and there are ‘Facebook Friends’ – you may have never even met some of these but they do ‘like’ your 5-year-old kid’s birthday party pics. They are important for ‘networking purposes’, and moreover, you like what they share.
It’s marketing speak spread wide. Got too many friends to fit into a profile? Open a Page and try followers.
Away from all the noise, however, classic friendships are back where they belong. On our speed dials, contact lists, phone calls, personal WhatsApp messages, travel trips, across the table under a cosy home.
If there is a right way to do #socialmedia and #socialmediamarketing, there is a right way to do #friendships too. Let’s not lose sight of that.