Today is the Birthday of a Social Media friend, who I first met through Twitter, and then extended my friendship onto Facebook.
He lived in Pittsburgh, and we never met in real life… but through the years we would talk about hockey… music… and as we got to know one another better, our past struggles with Depression.
Then one day, he was gone…
No warning. No last post. No rants about Facebook or Twitter trolls.
Just… suddenly… nothing.
And for the last few years, upon the occasion of his Birthday, it causes me, and his many other perplexed friends, to post on his FB wall, and to put out Tweets… hoping against hope, for a response.
But there are none.
I think we’ve all had friends who, upon encountering online trolls, or discordant opinions, have taken breaks, or retreated offline. I myself, have had periods where there is just “too much muchness”, and going offline seems the easiest way to quickly quiet, a sometimes overwhelming and noisy world.
But these retreats by me, and by others, are usually prefaced by a “Taking a break for a while” note… or alternately, a rant complaining about the ugly sides of Social Media. Some come back, and others do not. But in most cases, there is a build-up or explanation to the reasons for the interruption.
In Matt’s case, there was none.
He called his online profile ‘Spazz Matt’.
And, so today, it made me wonder…
About the nature of friendships, and how we are naturally drawn to some people. How we form bonds of commonality, traveling roads (whether real or virtual) together, and enjoying “shared” experiences together.
And it makes me wonder…
How someone could, after years and years, suddenly give up on all those friendships.
And then I wonder…
Beyond the facile friendships of an online community, if the struggle behind the persona, overcame the person themselves. I hope not.
But… in all likelihood, I’ll never know.
So, on the occasion of his Birthday, I post this Simon & Garfunkel video, in honour of Matt, who would (in my recollection) doubtlessly, mock my choice.
And, with apologies to S&G, I present… “For Matt, Whenever We May Find Him”
And, because I would agree that the tone isn’t quite right, I give you (again) the greatest song ever written…
“I’m Going To Go Back There, Someday” by the Great Gonzo.