For this last visit home to (extremely rainy) Northern Ireland I flew with Ryanair into Derry City airport, rather than my usual route of flying with BMIbaby to Belfast International. It was an interesting experience for a number of reasons. It was the first time I had flown with Ryanair for a long time and it has changed lots. I won't join the many voices already criticising Ryanair for the way in which their charges mount and mount, or the lack of room in their planes, or the way in which you are advertised to for almost the entire duration of your flight, or for the fact that the airport is named Derry City Airport but the Ryanair flight announcement and advertising refers to it as Londonderry airport, which it is not (oh, whoops - I did join those people. Oh well) but it was very different to how I was used to getting home. Also, Derry is further away from my parents' house, quite a long drive over the Sperrins. I very much enjoyed the drive through the mountains, and so did my dad. It was nice to be reminded how beautiful my home country is. And, it was excellent to spend some time in Derry - something I haven't done for some time.
It got me thinking again - in a very convoluted manner - about Facebook. On the drive from the airport (actually in Eglinton, not really in Derry) into Derry city centre we drove past the house where one of my friends used to live. He is someone who I lost contact with, and rarely think about now. But when I was a teenager he was an important friend - someone who I wrote to lots, and talked to on the phone, and visited, and really cared about. He was an important friend to have because he was the first properly platonic male friend I had, and I love being friends with men. Anyway, I googled him and found that he is on Facebook, so if I were also on Facebook I'd be able to get in contact with him, and wouldn't that be nice? But, I'm not on Facebook, and I don't want to be. And I can't find other contact details for him online (which is reassuring, actually)
So, what do I want? I suppose if I really wanted to get in contact with him I could write a letter and post it to his parents' house, assuming that they still live in Derry. I suppose it is what I would have done in the days pre-internet. And maybe I will do it. When I deleted my Facebook account, lots of people wondered how I would keep in touch with them. And to be fair, I'm not really in touch with some of those people now, and I wonder what that means. If I contacted Ed (for that is the name of my long-lost friend) on Facebook, would it mean that our friendship was revived? It might, but it probably wouldn't. Maybe that is laziness, but I think it is a kind of laziness that Facebook encouraged me into in the past (that and semi-stalking, and who needs to be spending their time doing that?!) Once again, I'm not entirely sure what my point is in this. Maybe a wee diagram would be helpful
I think 'Oh, wouldn't it be nice to know what Ed is up to these days' --->
Oh, he's on Facebook. But I'm not ------->
Maybe if I was on Facebook I could contact him -------->
But what would that achieve? I don't think it's a very good place to communicate, although we would be able to see each other's photos. ------->
Aaah Facebook is crap. Bollocks to it ---------->
Is fondly remembering someone the same as a sincere desire to rekindle a friendship? ------->
Maybe I should write all of my blogs as little diagrams!
p.s Ed Devlin from Derry - on the very slim chance that you google your name and find this, email me, yeah? It's much better than Facebook!