By now, I’m sure that you’re aware of the concept of the “Facebook-only” friend. For most people, it could probably be defined as someone who would probably drive you crazy if they were currently in your life (and vice versa), but whom you’re still curious about.
They’re often people you used to hang around with 10, 20, 30 years ago, but of whom you’ve lost track over the years, only to be reunited virtually, with occasional vague promises to “have a beer together” some time.
Either that, or they are people with whom you’ve had discussions with in other online places, and you’ve somehow also ended up as Facebook friends.
The upshot is that — if you use Facebook a lot — your circle of Facebook-only Friends probably dwarfs your circle of Real Life Friends. And because your only glimpse into these people’s lives on a day-to-day basis is via their status updates, it has given rise to a phenomenon that I call “The Semi-Public Tragedy.”
The Semi-Public Tragedy is when you can tell from somebody’s status updates that something awful has recently happened in their lives, but because you’re not that close to them in Real Life, you don’t know exactly what the hell it was. So the tragedy is out there, but it’s not like you’re seeing it on the news.