Are all of your Facebook friends, really your friends?! That’s what  artist Tanja Hollander thought when she had a look at all of her 626 Facebook friends. And after thinking about if for a while she decided to find out the answer to that question by visiting all of those 626 Facebook friends in their homes. She documented the experience in an epic 5-year-long project called: Are You Really My Friend?

Are you really my friend - Tanja Hollander travels to world to visit all of her facebook friends

Are you really my friend – Tanja Hollander travels to world to visit all of her facebook friends

Facebook friend travel mission

It all started on New Year’s Eve 2010, when, after conversing with some of her online friends, Maine-based artist Tanja Hollander stared wondering what her relationship with all the people in her Facebook list was. She asked herself if friendships formed online were as real as offline ones and if many of her “friends” were actually just acquaintances. “Am I really friends with all these people?” and “what does online friendship mean in the offline world?” Hollander asked herself. It fascinated her. And she decided to visit all of them to find out.
A facebook friend inspired journey that resembles very much how a facebook friend suggestion had fascinated Victor van Rossem some years prior and made him travel 8,000 km to Meet this Total Stranger that facebook suggested should be his friend!

Visiting all of her 626 facebook friends

Hollander’s plan was pretty straightforward, she had to go visit all her 626 of her Facebook friends, spend time with them, and take photographs of them for an art project. She ended up traveling an average two weeks per month, for a period of five years, but she actually managed to visit all the people in her friends list, documenting every encounter on her Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Some of Tanja Hollander's 626 facebook friends - Are you really my friend?

Some of Tanja Hollander’s 626 facebook friends – Are you really my friend?

When her kickass world trip ended Tanja Hollander had visited four continents, 12 countries, 43 U.S. states and had been welcomed in over 400 homes. Most importantly, she had found the answer to the question that started it all.

“One thing is for certain,” the artist told Upworthy. “There isn’t a difference between online friendships and offline friendships. It’s something that weaves in and out of everything we do, from work to friendship — everything, literally. There are some people that I see in person more often than friends that exist only online, but that doesn’t mean I’m closer to the people I see every day. Social media is just a different way of communicating. Asking people “Are You Really My Friend?” proves to be a way to create a very intimate experience with people that otherwise feel like they only exist in a virtual reality.”

Are you really my friend? Yes I am...

Are you really my friend? Yes I am…

As for photographing her friends in their own homes and often staying with them, the artist claims that it brought her closer to them in a way that most people will never experience with all of their Facebook friends.

Faking facebook

Facebook has been a recurring inspiration for kickass trips. In this case Hollander took the online world into the offline by physically visiting her facebook friends. A rare phenomenon these days. As opposed to taking the offline and enhancing it online. The latter is what Zilla van den Born did by deceiving her facebook friends with a Fake Facebook Journey to South-East Asia without ever leaving here home. One of the best online travel hoaxes of the last couple of years indeed!

Are you really my friend? documentary

Hollander’s epic art project also became the subject of a documentary which was successfully crowdfunded on Kickstarter earlier this year. It consists of footage shot by Tanja Hollander during her 5 years of globetrotting, not knowing what she should do with it. “Are You Really My Friend?”, the documentary was officially released on March 18.

Find the full documentary on Tanja Hollander’s website here: http://www.areyoureallymyfriend.com/movie.html

So how do you feel about your own facebook friends now?!
Maybe it is time for a trip to find out…!!