Super Fiesta #43
It was my birthday last week. To celebrate I threw *Super Fiesta #43* — featuring a taco bar, a piñata, good friends, lots of sangria and some whiskey. Whoooo Hooooo!
It was a stupendous summer evening and we all had a great time. Well, I was delighted anyway. And so thankful that my closest friends were able to attend. I counted myself a very lucky girl that weekend, and spent quite a bit of time reflecting on the value and shape of friendship.
Friends vs. Followers
These thoughts on friendship were floating around my head and crashing into several ideas gleaned from a recently read New Yorker article entitled “Why the Revolution Will Not be Tweeted.”
The article was really about why movements, like the American civil rights movement of the 1960s, couldn’t be created by today’s social media. The article was arguing that the commitment to radical social change was too *meaty* (my word) to be orchestrated by the likes of Twitter followers and Facebook fans.
The article makes several fairly radical statements, and I don’t wholly agree. Here are a few excerpts:
• “Facebook activism succeeds not by motivating people to make a real sacrifice but by motivating them to do the things that people do when they are not motivated enough to make a real sacrifice.”
• “The evangelists of social media don’t understand this distinction; they seem to believe that a Facebook friend is the same as a real friend and that signing up for a donor registry in Silicon Valley today is activism in the same sense as sitting at a segregated lunch counter in Greensboro in 1960.”
• “The things that King needed in Birmingham—discipline and strategy—were things that online social media cannot provide.”
I think it’s true that sitting at the lunch counter took an enormous amount of personal conviction and courage, which signing an online petition doesn’t demand. But I think engaging online is a useful way to begin building activism, becoming educated about an issue, and is the first step in forming a personal commitment to a cause.
I also think that social media tools can be instrumental not only in executing a strategy, but in forming that strategy through a crowd-sourcing like approach to problem solving. In my mind, the more minds working on solving a social problem, the better.
Acquaintances vs. Characters
I was also thinking about the article from a more personal perspective: the difference between Friends (those that know and love you) and Followers / Fans (those that connect with you via Twitter & Facebook).
The article states: “Our acquaintances—not our friends—are our greatest source of new ideas and information.” I couldn’t disagree with this more.
For me, it’s just the opposite. My friends provide invaluable insight into my ventures and are absolutely my greatest source of new ideas. They continue to astound me, not only with their willingness to share their time and intellect, but their compassion. In fact, they often humble me…
Which brings me full circle to *Super Fiesta #43* and why I’m so thankful to have been able to celebrate a new year with this particular cast of characters: my friends!
This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 6th, 2010 and is filed under Erin Then.