An online friendship doesn't mean you share mutual affection, trust, history, or any of the other standard qualifiers for a relationship and this is mostly chill because it's Facebook and that's how Facebook has worked for years. Well Connecticut-based photographer and astute cultural observer, Ty Morin has discerned this as well and he plans to do something about it.
Morin has raised over $7,000 so far on Kickstarter to fund his travels to visit every single one of his 788 Facebook friends. But these visits aren't just about good times with nearly 800 strangers; Morin will, of course, make a film about his journey.
Will he conduct some anthropological analysis about the significance of online connections? Will he try to parse out how social media influences our perception of friendship? Maybe, but probably not. His goal is "to capture everyone doing something they are passionate about." Mhm.
He will visit every single person (not looking for invites here) and attempt to reconnect, catch up, or form a quickie relationship. And he will make these folks look him in the eye, devote their complete attention to him, and reveal their innermost dreams:
"No more hiding behind the screen of social media. Stop looking down at your phone and pretending you're texting your BFF when you walk by an old friend from high school. Lets get out there and remind people what it's like to have a face to face conversation with someone."
Morin will use an 8x10 camera to document his journey. That's one of those old-fashioned cameras that kind of looks like it has an accordion connecting the front lens and the back. It usually requires a tripod and one of those curtain type things that the photographer hides behind. They are mostly used in old-timey movies because they are from the old times and are inconvenient. Morin writes that actually the hassle of this crazy camera is part of the appeal:
"The process of shooting with this camera is long and tedious. It can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but it also allows me to spend time with these people. Each portrait takes about an hour to complete… I'm going to do this the old fashioned way...like back in the day when the idea of a photograph was more than just something to post on the internet."
Morin estimates that 788 of these photographs will run up to about $4,000. He asked for $5,000 in his campaign and noted that the rest of the funds will be used for travel expenses, like gasoline and maybe some Slurpees and an audiobook of The Help. All that money is a high price for friendship, considering Morin estimates he's "never even spoken to" at least half of the 788.
Also, Morin is the type of dude whose profile photo involves him sticking out his tongue with some food in his mouth. So to his Facebook buddies, have a fun first-time convo and some ostensibly heartfelt chatting about your passions while you sit still for an insanely long time in front of a camera that will make you look a Victorian ghost.