by Guest Writers Suzie Cheel and Des Walsh
It came to us while walking on the beach last week.
You know how, what with Facebook and Twitter and Plurk and all the other social networking communities we all have these hundreds or thousands of friends online? Well, what if we were to friend some of those people we see offline?
That’s right, friends we can talk to, hang out with, but without having a keyboard or microphone or videocam to help us communicate!
What triggered this particular brainwave, which we are currently seeking to trademark as “Friends in the Flesh”, was when, as we say, we were walking on the beach.
Now just by way of background, when we walk on the beach early in the morning there are several people we see most days. Some form of greeting or acknowledgement is exchanged, ranging from a hearty “Good Morning! Beautiful day!”, through to a friendly but fairly emotionless nod. You always know who the visitors holidaying from the city are: if you say “Good morning!” they look at you nervously and might manage a smile but you know their city reflexes have them suddenly in fight or flight mode.
Anyhow, the other day, a chap we’ve actually chatted with a few times and another who has been in the “nod or make a small, unostentatious sort of waving motion with the hand” category of morning beachgoers, stopped us to actually introduce themselves by name and discover our names.
Now when we see them it’s all “Suzie!”, “Des!”, “Pat!” and “Greg!” – and since they have introduced us to another of their friends, “Grahame!”.
We discovered we like this and now we are on a bit of a campaign to get to know the names of the other regulars.
Who knows where this could lead? The League of Offline Friends perhaps? With a list, in – what do they call it – a printed book?
Given the instantaneousness of friending on Facebook and following/being followed on Twitter, the four years or so it has taken for us to know the names of people we greet every day and have them know our names, and even stop for the occasional chat, seems – no, is – an extraordinary amount of time.
Is it possible, while we build amazing and multitudinous friendships online, that we are neglecting – literally walking past – opportunities for friendships in our offline lives?
What if 2009 were to be a year when we did some serious offline friending? Going beyond the wave or the non-committal half-smile exchange with people we see every day or regularly but really know nothing about to exchanging names and even having a chat or two.
A chat offline? You mean it’s ok to do that? Cool.
Do you have a story to tell about going from a “courtesy” wave or nod to actually friending someone offline? Care to share, here?