I have a lot of friends on Facebook. Not an absurd amount, but slightly above the average of 245. I know them from high school. Or college. Through other friends. From former jobs as their colleague, underling, or superior. Via events and common hobbies. To be my friend on Facebook, I have a rule that I have to have met you in person. (That said, I have broken this rule once or twice for people whose writing I’ve adored.)
It doesn’t really matter how I know my friends.
What matters is how you know my friends.
Two years ago, long before writing these columns, I decided I was going to use my Facebook status prompt to highlight a different Facebook friend of mine each day over the course of a month. I’d use that little box to briefly explain to all my other Facebook friends (at least the ones who hadn’t hidden my updates) why that person was so awesome.
I called it my Awesome Facebook Friend of the Day. (This is what happens when a writer rolls, unsupervised, without an editor.)
It’s sort of like how Bridget Jones decided to introduce people with thoughtful details. (Let’s not talk about the third book coming out. I just can’t.)
I know, I know. It’s kind of annoying when someone uses that chunk of Internet real estate to discuss something other than themselves. But I think you’re thinking more of that copy-and-paste-a-status as a means of supposed support for a supposed cause. That’s not support. It’s a step above chain letters.
There are a lot of ways to be insufferable on Facebook. This isn’t one of them. I promise.
See, I believe there is the family you’re assigned. And there is the family you choose. They’re both family. But why not explain why the people you’ve chosen as your people are your people?
If you’d like to do an Awesome Facebook Friend of the Day month, here are some guidelines I tend to follow. Do with them what you will.
- Choose your Awesome Friend at random. It shouldn’t be only your besties. Try to highlight people from various areas of your life. Its fun to recall anecdotes from a long, long time ago and remember why you like the person. (Or even if you don’t; make this a time to purge, too.)
- Keep each day’s write-up short. It can be long enough to go into a “See More,” but not much more. You don’t want to slavishly unspool.
- If you have a friend with privacy concerns, respect that.
- Like Amber Heard, I like to alternate boys and girls on alternate days, but that’s up to you.
- It’s best if that day’s friend is on Facebook at least vaguely regularly or gets notifications if tagged in a post, because it’s nice to ensure that friend has seen what you’ve written.
Maudlin? Eulogistic? Depends how you write. Sharing your friends’ awesomeness with your other friends shouldn’t be cloying. It should be a celebration.
Because, really: Why hold off on honoring friendship? It should happen every damn day. Especially when you have a space you can dedicate to it. How often do we hatch opportunities to articulate why we’re friends with someone? Choosing an Awesome Friend of the Day is one way to let them, and the social world around us, know.
Illustration by Jason Reed