Do Your Online Followers Compare to Your Real-Life Friendships?
Technology has improved and impacted our way of life in several ways, one being that it has redefined our relationships with people. Friendships, for example, have been greatly influenced and altered by the presence of social media. Rather than the old-fashioned ‘let’s hang out’ exchange, the phrase has changed to ‘subscribe if you like me!’. Friendship is no longer a real-life custom, instead, it's a virtual reality game where anything is possible. You can be friends with anyone, even people you haven’t met before, and still gain popularity. Yet, how important is your popularity if it’s all online?
Does Your Online Fame Really Make You Popular?
Ok, so you have five-hundred friends on Facebook and millions of followers on Instagram and Twitter combined. Most people would consider you a pretty cool person and bombard your inbox with DM’s. But ask yourself, are they messaging you because of your fame on social media or they genuinely like you. It all depends on how well they know you.According to Anthropologist Robin Dunbar, “a single person can sustain relations with only 150 people.” Reason being is due to a lack of quality time and the fact that our brains would probably explode if we attempted to keep track that many people.Still, 150 is too big of a number to use when determining what constitutes a real friendship. Obviously, people who claim to have millions of friends probably don’t in real life. If they were to visit all of their followers, how many of those people would actually hang-out with them?Three to five of your followers might say yes, only because they’re your close friends in real-life or you’ve developed a relationship with them that goes beyond DM’s. These are people who know all of your deepest and darkest secrets, who will support you no matter what and be your ‘rock’ when everything goes wrong. They are the people you can depend upon. To say the same can be said about the rest of your followers, wouldn’t make sense.
Weeding Out The Fake’s From The Real Friends
Creating the same level of chemistry you have with your best friend, on and offline, with the rest of the 150 people in your life is an impossible task. You can’t trust everyone you meet online. In my experience, I’d say that half your followers and ‘friends’ have some alternative motives. Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the ability to read minds and know what the other person is thinking, so it’s never a good idea to assume that you can tell strangers about your personal life from A to Z.Even if you do share a personal detail about your life, like an old photograph of you and your sister, you may attract two or more internet Trolls. They’re one of your followers on Instagram, yet, every time you post a comment or a video they’ll go out of their way to say something negative. If any of your followers are like this, why even bother having them on your page?You also have those ‘friends’ who follow you just to get more followers to subscribe to their page. I’ve had people I used to go to high school who would send me friend requests just for their benefit. They’d have seven hundred to nine hundred friends on Facebook already and just needed my vote to have more. I would try to communicate with them but never get a response back. After a while, I just rejected them. If they don’t want to talk to you, they’re not worth your time. More importantly, they’re not a friend.If you and your online friend hangout outside the realm of social media, then there’s real potential for a friendship. There’ll be others who will like you for you and this number will be considerably smaller. In the end, size shouldn’t matter.
Friendship Matters More Than Popularity
Popularity online does not always equal popularity in real-life. People can know you from a grocery store, from another friend, and even from a picture, but they don’t really know you. They don’t even know enough about you to truly call you a friend.What matters then, is not how many friends or followers you have on social media. What’s important, is that you surround yourself with people who know you for you and will stick by you through thick and thin.What do you think? Is it more important to have one thousand followers on Instagram or two best friends?