During the last two weeks I have received almost 800 friend requests on Facebook and about 1000 new followers. It’s overwhelming and warms my heart beyond words.
Many many thanks for your trust and support – and for not only thinking it but taking time to tell it.
I can only assume that it is all because of my visit to Damascus and Aleppo. Literally thousands have thanked me for my short texts and photos from there – and for taking the risk going there.
Lots of people go to difficult places, be they humanitarian workers, journalists, photographers, UN people, other diplomats or civil society organisations. But – regrettably, I would say – it is not often I’ve met other researchers in war zones.
Those of us who go, go because we feel we have a duty, because we are curious and must see for ourselves and because a visit opens doors to people, to the suffering and to natural human solidarity.
Media focus on all those with weapons in their hands – the warlords. I’ve always felt enriched and grateful to all the others one can meet, wonderful people who stand up and stand together, struggle, help their neighbours – and survive the other main type of people present, the murderers who get all the fame.
I’m no hero. Just that you know. Many (more) could do what I do.
But back to the social media boom, I’ve just experienced.
5000 Facebook friends – and then what?
The “problem” is that I now have 5000 friends on my Facebook profile and cannot accept more. I’ve investigated whether I should create a public figure/celebrity page which is what Facebook seems to propose.
But I have decided against it because it puts other restrictions on you and limits two-way communication, particularly with other profiles.
Two-way communication is important in my view when we want to create debate and mobilise opinions for social change.
I’ve configured my profile so that all of you who have requested friendship should have received a message – when trying to make friends – that you cannot become friends but you can be a follower.
To me you are as much friends here as those who, earlier, became friends.
And there is nothing you or I can do about these Facebook policies.
So followers, I see you as friends as good as any!
Statistics moving upward with surprising speed
Finally a little statistics which, in my view, tells about the increasing strength of the social media and the decreasing strength of the traditional ones.
My profile and my three pages on Facebook – TFF, Oberg PhotoGraphics and Danmark For Fred Med Fredelige Midler (Denmark for Peace By Peaceful Means) – now have combined 15.000 friends and likes. And 12.000 followers.
The combined TFF-Oberg Twitter account has only 950 followers – but then Twitter has never been a multi-way media but basically one-way telegram-style messages. And we are on Google+ too but it’s even smaller.
Finally a plea: I hope you will keep on sharing and sharing and commenting. It is the only way to build a sustained opinion critical of the rampant violence and militarism and supportive of constructive peace thinking and new policies.
Again, heartfelt thanks to you from TFF and myself!
PS Should you find that you can support us with any sum from US$ 5 and upwards, please go here. All TFF and I do for peace is unpaid and costs are covered exclusively by citizens and no corporate or government money.
That’s why we can speak freely what we believe is true and provide you with analyses, debates and photos based on competence and integrity.