There’s this funny thing about facebook and social media when you live half the world away from your friends and family. It starts to really matter to you. I’m not saying I didn’t use facebook before I left the UK. I did. But since living abroad it has taken on much more importance. With an eight hour time one difference and friends and family with busy working lives, actually speaking with them in real time is not always as easy as it was in the UK. So it really brightens up my morning when I open up facebook to find their photos and comments about whatever is going on in their lives. That sense of connection is so precious.
Now I’m a mum I don’t have as much time on my hands, but posting photos and short videos of our rapidly growing six month baby girl is something I try to do fairly regularly. It makes the grandparents happy! But perhaps other facebook friends find it a bit over the top? I do sometimes worry that people must get bored looking at endless photos of gummy smiles and reading about nap times, weaning and other baby related minutiae.
So when a friend re-posted something encouraging people to share a piece of art as a status update instead of the more pedestrian facebook fare, I thought it was a brilliant idea. The concept was simple. Like the art image they had posted, and they would recommend an artist to you. You then needed to choose and share one of their pieces and ask your friends to like it, at which point the cycle starts again. Surely lots of people would be up for this? It wasn’t a lot of effort and it seemed interesting, fun, and something a little bit different.
Assigned Georgia O’Keeffe, I duly did a bit of surfing about on the internet and chose a piece I particularly liked.
I was excited at the prospect of getting comments and likes back, and then seeing what choice people made from the artist I would assign them in turn. Actually, my excitement was somewhat misguided. Only two friends liked the post, one of which is one of those people who ‘likes’ pretty much everything they see on facebook. And what interesting pieces did they choose, to inspire their friends in turn? Well, actually, they didn’t. I sent them both suggested artists to pick art from and….that was the end of the line. I felt really quite deflated. Had I not sold the idea well enough? Did people not find the picture I’d chosen appealing? Or was it just one of those days when everyone is off doing something else and not killing time looking at facebook?
A little while later I posted a photo of baby girl, posing it up for the camera. Only six months old and the poor child has been photographed from pretty much every angle! Still, she doesn’t seem to be bored by it yet and thankfully is a way off the age where the obligatory rictus grin and ‘cheeeeeeese’ face comes into play. I never really expect anyone to take any notice of the baby stuff. It’s just family snaps. So imagine my surprise when about thirty ‘likes’ and lots of lovely comments came in. It turns out it wasn’t such a quiet facebook day for my friends after all.
Lots of people joke about ‘facebrag’ and complain about friends who use it to talk incessantly about the nice things in their life. But it seems like perhaps there is comfort in that familiarity after all. I’m disappointed that more people weren’t excited by sharing art on facebook. But actually that disappointment is considerably outweighed by knowing that my friends seem not to mind the constant barrage of baby bits and bobs. In fact, they genuinely seem to like it.
Licence to keep those baby photos coming? Sounds good to me!