I do not do social networking. (I do not consider blogging to be social networking: it’s ranting, airing, and joshing.) I have yet to discover a reason to bare myself to anyone wishing to know everything about me, my whereabouts, and my activities. If I did and if Silicon Valley geniuses could find a way to allow insects-that-bite to join, I would have more “friends” than Justin Bieber and Lady Gaga combined.
In my life, I have been able to attract more people than I wished to have anything to do with, but my appeal to biting insects in Florida bursts all bounds. My only conclusion is that it is the fate (flavor?) of introverts to attract so many such “friends”, because my extroverted wife has been virtually ignored. Or, perhaps, residents of Florida swamps find the attraction or taste of Germans to be unappealing.
Thinking about my new popularity led me to think about the fairly fluid definition of the word friend. Recently, it has become an even more elastic word than it ever was. I recalled conversions I had with Russians during my many dealings with that country. During Soviet times, the word had two meanings: someone you knew and someone you trusted. In a society where children were urged to tattle on their own parents, only one definition of friend meant anything: it was someone you trusted with your life. People had few friends…unlike the denizens of Planet Facebook.
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Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.