Have you ever glanced over at the number of friends you have on Facebook and asked yourself how you can possibly have so many friends, and how many of these people are actually your real life friends? Tanja Hollander sure did at least.
On New Year’s Eve of 2010, after chatting with an online friend, she started to question which of her friends were merely online friends, and if they were as genuine as her offline friends.
After considering these thoughts for awhile, the artist sought out to visit all 626 of her Facebook friends in order to find out. The endeavour took her an entire 5 years. She documented her journey in a project which she entitled Are You Really My Friend?
She financed her legendary art project by crowdfunding on Kickstarter. The documentary consists of Tanja throughout her 5 year journey across the globe to meet all of her friends. She really had no idea what to expect.
Her game plan was more or less straightforward, with the intention of going to visit each person individually and spend time with them, as well as photograph with them for the project.
She actually managed to visit every single person on both her Facebook and Instagram accounts, and document the encounters. Her journey ended after having visited over four hundred homes, four continents, twelve countries, and forty-three American states.
But what is most significant here and that she got what she wanted. After searching and searching, she concludes that there is no difference between offline and online friends. It’s become such an internal part of us, that seeing people on a daily basis does not mean we are any closer with them. Social media, she claims is merely another communication method.
Her project proved to be a highly effective method to create for a intimate connection between people that would otherwise only exist in a virtual world. The artist also expresses that taking pictures of her friends in their homes brought them closer together.
Hollander explains how some friends are more important at certain points in our lives, and that should be acceptable.