Online Loss and Gain, family style

I wasn’t really sure how to title this…or even really had an idea what I was going to say.

But I’m gonna write.

Tonight I got the news that Frank Jannotti passed away. I didn’t know Frank, and had never met him.

The only reason I got news of his passing is because I communicated with his brother, Jim, on FriendFeed.

Other than our conversations on FriendFeed, I had never met Jim either. However, when I heard that Frank had lost his battle with cancer, I cried. Along with a few dozen of my closest FriendFeed friends, most of whom I had never met in person.

But regardless of the lack of personal familiarity with each other, tonight I am mourning the loss of someone we had never met with a group of people I haven’t ever met. Bible verses, feelings, and virtual hugs were thrown around as we attempted to support Jim in his grief while dealing with our own.

In this day and age, this isn’t a horribly new story. And even though this group of people isn’t new, I feel that what we have here is something rare. FriendFeed is a group of people that share life, get pissed, delete our accounts, create new accounts, block people, unblock people, and generally care too much.

I can directly blame one person for getting me hooked on FF, and she knows who she is. Once I started interacting, though, I haven’t left.

There are people on here I like, people I don’t, and everything in between. But the best way I can describe the group of folks on FriendFeed isn’t a bunch of friends. It’s more like gaining a new family, complete with laughter, arguments, crying, shouting, cussing, and pain. But when the chips are down, I have to say that I feel the love in FF more than anywhere else on social media.

Someone on Quora asked if anyone still used FF and why. This is why. Because we’re family.

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