A few months ago I tracked down an old friend of mine, Daniel Strandberg, on Facebook. I met Daniel when I first moved to Stockholm some years ago. I was single and spending too much time on SprayDate. I don’t quite recall how we connected – I think through some of the girls I chatted to on that site. Daniel and some others were being proactive and organising gettogethers – group meets at the park, that kind of thing. We hit it off well and drank a bit too much at a few too many bars, and after I met Michaela, Daniel and I lost touch. A few emails exchanged here and there, a fika in town. He was a good guy and I enjoyed his company, so after a few other old friends had made contact with me on Facebook, I looked him up , found him – and clicked Add as Friend. A few weeks passed with no reply and I thought no more of it.
Then, a couple of weeks ago I saw a status update from a mutual friend – Daniel had drowned on a holiday in Crete. So sad, only 36. His facebook page is still there, regularly updating as his devastated girlfriend posts her favourite photos of him … and haunting me with a forlorn message – Awaiting Friend Confirmation.
How long his profile will stay up I’ve no idea. Will Facebook decide to delete him for “inactivity”? Will he be forever immortalised, photos never showing him age, as time takes it’s toll on the rest of us? How long will I be Awaiting Friend Confirmation?
The internet continues to change our world and even our manner of thinking in as yet unknowable ways. How will having the legacy of our life forever defined on the web change us? With prospective employers googling us, police catching crims on facebook, and the internet archive storing it all for prosperity, what does the internet say about you, about me, about us? What does a prospective employer or date think if they can’t find you? What will our children and grandchildren think as they read our rants and whines? Will Facebook give them the keys to my account? What will they think of Daniel, forever Awaiting Friend Confirmation.
Maybe by then they’ll know one thing. Google does not know all. Facebook does not know me. Facebook does not know Daniel. He was my friend, and I was his. I need no confirmation.