From Cavan to Oz: This facebooker's New Year's resolution is to meet all her virtual friends face-to-face

By Louise Walsh

A Co Cavan social media user has made a very unusual New Year's resolution - to meet her Facebook friends from all over the world for the first time.

Aine Tuffy Gogarty from Kingscourt will now travel just down the road and as far away as Australia to meet the 39 of her 1,000 virtual friends that she regularly interacts with but has never met.

The 39-year-old ceramicist says that she made the resolution after un-friending about 500 others in a pre-Christmas social media cull.

"I sat down before Christmas and went through all my friends on Facebook. I unfriended about 500 who I hadn't interacted with in a good while," she said.

"I'd say if I had met many of them on the street, they'd walk by me, not knowing who I even was.

"Over the years, you connect with many people because of different groups you join, lifestyle changes or just things you do but you might only talk to them a few times.

"And on Facebook, if you don't like posts then after a certain amount of time they disappear from your feed and you forget they are even still there.

"However after the cull, I then realised that there were 39 people who, despite being in regular contact with, I had never met."

"All my other Facebook connections are friends and extended family who I have met but I aim to meet the last 39 virtual friends in the next year, if I can.

"It's amazing that there are a few that I've never met, despite the fact that they only live a few miles down the road in Bailiborough or Moynalty, Co Meath. These are the ones that I'll be meeting first.

"The others need more planning as they live in Norway, Scotland, UK, Australia, Canada and the US but we will get there. I'm determined to do so."

Aine, who is originally from Burnfoot in Co Donegal, says that she was actually shocked when she realised that there were people on her page that she had never met, because she felt she knew them so well.

"We interact so much that I hadn't even realised until I did this, that we had never actually met face-to-face.

"I was delivering a ceramic piece that I made to one Facebook friend who lives nearby recently. We had talked and shared so many things online so I was knocked for six when she opened the door and I saw she was eight months pregnant.

"It then dawned on me that you put up so much trivia on your feed and often don't make public many of the important things happening in your life, like a birth, death or sickness

"It's funny that you could have thousands of Facebook friends but no one to go for a coffee with."

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