In 2013 a couple of things happened that changed the focus of my life – I started painting again and traded one of those pictures for this laptop and joined Facebook.
Like many, I was cynical and quite ignorant about it until I actually gave it a try. There’s something in my nature that baulks when someone says – “You must meet so and so – you’ll love them “
It was a jittery start, after a week or so I had to pawn the computer just to make my rent and it was a month before I could afford to buy it back. All that time, I was thinking about the 50 friends I had found up to that point and about how they’d be missing me and be wondering where I had got to. I needn’t have worried – there were about three messages waiting for me.
I like to work my own way around new things and Facebook was no exception. It didn’t take long to realise that it was a perfect canvas for me – for my visual art and my music. Though I’d been producing artwork all my years, a lot of it had been within a bubble that no one much ever got to see into.
So I joined a few music and art groups and the like and tried to befriend as many people interested in those areas as would have me. That’s when I first got in trouble with the powers that be – Face book barred me from sending friend requests several times and threatened me with expulsion if it went on. So I rode it out and just kept gaining new friends anyway. Because of all the different types of work I’ve done over the years it’s meant I have friends stretching across all manner of disciplines – from rock and roll through theatre, film-making, fine art and writing.
I found my own style, as we all do. I like to quote the lyrics to the songs I post because I’m a lyricist, share images that I rate because I’m an artist and write about little things that happen to me because I‘m a storyteller. The wonderful thing is finding these like minds all over the globe and forming genuine, caring relationships with otherwise total strangers of every race, creed and gender.
There are plenty of negatives as well – people who want to tear everything down to their level and the nutcases and I’ve had to block a few. Also, I’m occasionally drunk when I’m on and get the wrong end of the stick – over-reacting and making a dick of myself but it all evens out.
You get to know who people are – their tastes, loves and losses, the way they feel about how they are being governed or treated and how they treat others. I’ve met and had interaction with people I admire hugely through Facebook and without having found it I would still be floundering around creating small noises in a vacuum.
We all have our personas on Facebook and I I hope mine rings true – I discovered very early on that you cant be a liar in this information world because you get found out pretty quickly so I try to stay true to myself. A while back, when I had reached 700-odd friends, my mate John told me that I have a responsibility to them and I’ve always remembered that. I have well over 2000 in a dozen or more countries now and it just gets better and better – over a thousand people reading this weekly forum I have and a real sea change in the fortunes of my band the Spines. A lot of it is down to the platform that Facebook has provided for us but mainly it’s just you and me and the way we all see the world – so thanks to everyone concerned because it makes such a difference you all being there