Redefining friendship

1/26/2010 03:46:00 PM

After reading my dear friend's post about social networking, I got to thinking...

Are we allowing Facebook to redefine what a "friend" is?

A refresher:

Back in the good 'ole days (before online social networking), we phoned and hung out with our friends. In fact, we even could hug them in person. We'd share stories and recount our days and experiences and share photos of our families all the while enjoying eye contact!

This was friendship, no?

Now, we status update.
We post our photos for anyone to see.
We invest 0-3 minutes in our friend's "lives" (by reading their facebook accounts) and can often tell you what they're currently doing (thank you, twitter), but we have no idea who they are. Today.
We text.
We comment.
We blog. (wink, wink.)
I'm very conflicted about all of this. Social networking is both a blessing and a curse, if you ask me.



  1. I think it's sad. I like talking to people face to face. I feel like I get to know them better, even if they are saying the same thing they may have written somewhere else (blog, facebook, etc.).

    I also think all of this modern social networking is causing a gigantic lack in communication skills. My husband and I were talking about this last night regarding our daughter....hopefully she will know how to have a face-to-face conversation with us at the dinner table as a teen, and not 'tweet' us from an opposing chair. ;)

  2. In my opinion, a real frienship goes beyond social networking. Social networking might foster a friendship, but it can only truly grow if actual conversation - face-to-face or over the phone conversation - is involved.

    There are people that I've "met" through social networking that I want to become friends with. I'm not their "friend" yet because we haven't hung out yet. A true friend, to me, is someone you can sit on the couch and easily converse with.

  3. I think the idea of facebook and other social media is good. However, it should not replace the real thing entirely. Not all of us have the luxury to see each other all the time so I really like it in that instance (friends all over the world!) Sure it's fun to get on facebook maybe once a week and see what everyone is doing, but honestly, who has time to look at it everyday and see what all 800 of their friends are doing?

    What I cannot handle is when people post really important things on facebook and then are upset with you because you didn't check their facebook!

    Now, blogging is different. A blog is personal and takes real effort to maintain. Facebook and twitter are microblogging or miniblogging. Can I get an amen?

    I like your post and that you defined "friend." I actually went through my "friends" last night just to make sure I knew all of them and I de-friended the ones I didn't know so I can say "Yes, I am actually friends or know these people professionally."

    ALSO (I'm almost done here), I am SUPER tired all all this farmville, bejeweled, mafia war, and other game-type things on facebook. The idea is to stay in touch with people. It seems like more of a video game when there are "pokes" and virtual martinis flying around. How about a "real" message?

    SO! Yes, as a supplement to your communication, I like facebook, and it is a GREAT way to share pictures, but in no way does it replace actually hearing someone's voice or seeing them (when you have that luxury).


  4. I agree with Wendy.

    But I would also say that for people like me with EXTREME social anxiety all this online social media has allowed me to open up a little bit and meet some new "friends" without having a thousand panic attacks. It's not all bad!

    But it still doesn't replace actually spending quality time with people. It just fills in the gaps in between.

  5. OK. I've tried to write this comment about 16 times, but I end up writing a book every time. (Same thing happens when I try to blog about this subject; it's a very complex topic.)

    There are times social networking makes me happy (like when it allowed me to reconnect with a long-lost friend) and mad (like when someone wrote on my wall that they were pregnant).

    So, I'm just going to agree with you: "Social networking is both a blessing and a curse."

  6. I love what the grumbles said: It doesn't take the place of spending time with people, it just fills the spaces in between. That is a phenomenal way to put it. I've tried very hard to keep my facebook friends to ONLY family and people I consider good friends. There are a few in there who don't fit that criteria, but I don't think it's more than one or two.

    I also made the decision NOT to include people from work unless he/she is truly a friend outside of work. I probably could be using it as a networking tool, but it seems dangerous to me to blend the two worlds too much.

    P.S. Iris, I confess: I am one of those super-annoying people who does the Farmville thing. Is it any better that I KNOW it's annoying and I'm sorry about that? No? OK. I'm still sorry. :)

  7. I am someone who is uncomfortable meeting new people for the first time and all these social websites have allowed me to put myself out there and meet some great people!

    However, I totally agree with these comments about the social websites just being something as an extra way to keep in touch with your friends in between seeing them but not the only way you should keep in touch with friends.

  8. I have to laugh because sometimes there are people on fb that I am friends with from h.s that I don't even remember- or what about people that have say 600 or more friends that is just crazy!


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