An old school friend of mine (Friend A) is in New York this week to celebrate her thirtieth birthday and whilst there, her boyfriend of eight years has proposed. I know this because another friend (Friend B) text me at 7.16 this morning with the news. I was absolutely delighted to hear this. I was of course pleased that Friend A is now engaged, especially as she has wanted this for a long time. My pleasure also came from Friend B’s text. I was touched that she made the effort to tell me at a time when she was probably busy enough getting herself, her two month old baby and her four year old ready for the school run. The fact that she’d bothered means a lot. She thought she’d text me, she said, because I’m not on Facebook anymore.
Funnily enough, whilst not being not being on Facebook may sometimes mean you miss out on hearing announcements as quickly as others do, closing my account has resulted in a major reconceptualisation of what friendship is and who my friends are. This is a case in point. I may have learnt of Friend A’s news sooner on Facebook, but instead I’ve had a real sense of connection with Friend B. I feel like I am important to her – a feeling that no social networking site can achieve in the same way. Furthermore, I may not being amongst the tens of friends and acquaintances that are no doubt writing ‘Congratulations’ on Friend A’s wall, but I do know that the card I’ve posted this morning will be one of the first on her doormat, landing there before she touches down from her trip.