Deep Thoughts on Friendship and Facebook

Happy Monday Everyone! I am so glad to be back at my keyboard today after a very exciting week offline. I’ve been coaching the biathlon team for my son’s Air Cadet Squadron and this weekend was their first competition. They had a great time and I have to say it felt so good to be back out on the course again after many, many years away from the sport.

Photo of Biathlon Team taken by myself.

Then to add to the excitement, I got this text from my daughter halfway through the competition….

Engagement Ring! Photo credit P. Gordon

Yes, wedding bells will be ringing soon!

While going to and fro this week I’ve been mulling over and considering something from last week’s blog post. If you missed it, go read it now and then come back for a little brain exercise. While considering the reasons that seniors should be engaging with social media, we found through research that most seniors self-report a more positive experience with social media as compared to millennials. This is because they mainly use social media as a tool to keep in touch with relatives and friends. They also tend to avoid the deep dive into virtual friend collecting that is such an integral part of the social media experience.

This has brought the question to mind… are we slowly changing the definition of ‘friend’?

Personally, I am something of an introvert and while I can certainly move through a room and interact with the best of them I have a fairly small circle of true friends. I consider these relationships friendship because they require an investment of time and emotional energy. The more resources I invest in a relationship, the higher in the hierarchy of friendships it belongs. The relationships above between the ski team members or my daughter and her fiance are built on large quantities of quality face-to-face time and that is what makes them strong bonds.

One could argue that our closest relationships are the secret to happiness. Our reasons for living.

And yet… Facebook labels all my 360 contacts equally as ‘friends’.

Certainly, not all of these people are actually friends… or are they? They require almost no effort on my part at all. One click to collect them. A like here or there on occasion and perhaps even my standard “<3<3<3 Happy Birthday! <3<3<3” post when FB reminds me it’s their special day.

Are these friends false?

Should I cull my friend list?

When I scroll through these names why is it so hard to pick ones to delete?

I decide to keep them all. And appreciate them. Here is why… someone once told me that there are two types of insurance in the world… the one you buy to protect yourself AND the piece of mind that comes from being connected to a community. These people may not all come to my home for dinner and I might never know their life story but they can certainly reach out to me for help if they need it. And vice versa.

In a world where the human experience of community is ever-shifting I realize there is a place in my heart and a need in my life for my network of Facebook ‘friends’ that isn’t met offline.

What do you think about Facebook friends? And are the algorithms influencing our connections by determining who’s posts we see? Do you curate your contacts carefully or friend as many people as possible? Let’s tease through these questions in the comments!

Photo Credit


Debate of the day! Do FB friends count as friends? Offer your two cents @


Is social media changing your definition of friendship? Chime in! #friendnotfriend #friendswitheveryone

COM0011 – Blog 1 – 3 Reasons You Need to Get Your Grandparents on Social Media NOW! [plus a feel good story!]

Photo Credit: Jodie Mercier

The Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers may not have grown up with technology but they absolutely have a vital place in our new social media-steeped world. Here are three reasons to take your iPad with you the next time you visit Grandma and Grandpa:

1. It’s Good for Them

The recent pandemic lockdowns brought new awareness of the isolation challenges many seniors face day in and day out. I am so glad my family got together and set up my grandparents with internet access and an iPad. My grandfather, already dismayed with his ever-shrinking newspaper, was able to access information like never before. Being in his 80s, I was keen to see how he took to this new technology especially since we could not be in the house to teach him. In truth, we had nothing to be worried about – after all, our grandparents have been adapting to “new technologies” all their lives [Suciu, 2020]. Since many boomers use social media sparingly and primarily to reconnect with old friends or receive family updates they tend to avoid the pitfalls of oversaturation and FOMO. [Suciu, 2020] This is inline with what I observed in my family as well. While my grandmother won’t even touch the iPad, she will never miss a chance to FaceTime with the great-grandchildren.

2. It’s Good for Everyone Else

The retirees of the world have spent a lifetime building skills out there in the real world. With Facebook being the preferred platform of this demographic [Suciu, 2020], many are finding their way to niche groups and keeping their passions alive by mentoring the young. Whether it be the best way to knit a sock or the answer to why my sons vintage snowmobile isn’t running the wealth of experience and generosity in helping solve problems cannot be understated. To illustrate, here’s the feel good story I promised you…

My 18 year old son, Wesley, is an Air Cadet and wants to become a pilot. He studied for YEARS to apply for a coveted Flying Scholarship where he would spend the summer getting his pilot licence at no cost to himself. After many months we finally got a call that he was accepted (incredible!) but there was a significant hurdle still ahead. Wes needed his flight medical approved by Transport Canada, which was going through a backlog that could only be described as a crisis. Wes’ medical had already been submitted for 15 months and we knew there were many, many professional pilots who had been waiting longer than that. We would need a miracle. And we found one on Facebook. Because I was also trained by the Air Cadets I am part of a FB group called “Cadets Made Me a Pilot.” After going through all the official channels and desperate and running out of time, I turned to this group for help. Suddenly I had an audience of over one thousand loyal alumni who knew exactly what the Scholarship did for their lives and wanted to pay it forward for Wes however they could. I was flooded with support mostly from active and retired pilots who generously offered their entire social networks from long careers in the aviation industry. I was given home phone numbers and personal email addresses of key people we needed to reach to get the medical approved and then through the printing and mailing process. In 3 days we had the medical in hand and the FB group erupted in applause! My son went on to Moncton for his flight training and four weeks in called home to announced he wants to be a commercial pilot. Not every candidate that year was able to get their paperwork in time and missed out on the opportunity unfortunately. But for my son, that FB group impacted the trajectory of his life.

Picture of my Facebook Post
Picture of my Facebook Post

3. It’s Vital for the Future

The internet is driven by social media and the heart of social media is content creation. Never before in human history has a large percentage of our global species come together from all walks of life to contribute to one single massive knowledge repository. We can not afford to leave our elders out of this process. We need their experiences and wisdom recorded before they and all those unique skills and life lessons they possess vanish along with them.

So, don’t you think it’s time you paid Nana a visit? Comment below three skills your grandparent could share with the world!


Find out why the internet needs grandparents!


Read my blog before your next visit to Nana’s! #getgrandmaonline


Suciu, P. (2020, January 13). Social media is improving their lives, say baby boomers Forbes.