I don’t know if you all know this, but friendship is pretty awesome. Friendship is one of the basic elements that help define us throughout our lives. Friendship has brought nations together, ended wars; it has bonded people throughout the years in ways few other things can. Friendship is a powerful thing that makes you feel a part of something, respected, even loved. But what happens to the meaning and connotation of such an important aspect of our lives when it is applied to various social media outlets such as Facebook?
Like many other social networking sites, Facebook provides incredible means of connectivity with people all around the world. You see a page that’s really cool, you can “like” it; you see someone you haven’t talked to in awhile because they now live in Cambodia, you can “poke” them. You see a friend of your brother, and you can make them your friend… Wait, what? Friend them? I barely know the guy, and the only way I can say I know him is by making him my friend? That seems like quite a leap, Facebook. Some of you may not feel so strongly about this matter, but the friendships and relationships I have with people are very important to me. So when a social media site such as Facebook generalizes such an important factor of my life by pretty much including everyone in it, I feel it kind of takes away from the whole significance of the word. No longer does being friends mean you have known each other for years and have talked extensively about your hobbies and your futures, but merely, “yeah, I know that guy.”
I’m going to tell you about my friend. He does not have a Facebook. I know, I know, he must wear a straight jacket in a room with pillows for walls, right? Wrong, he’s actually a really cool guy. Anyway, one day he was chatting with this girl, and she eventually said that she was going to friend him on Facebook, to which he replied that he did not have one. She then gave him a shocked look and asked, “Do you have any friends?” My friend was taken aback by this question. Do I have any friends? He wanted to ask her, “Do you have any friends?” To some, the term “friend” has lost its qualitative aspects and has been replaced with mere quantitative ones; a number by our profile picture rather than an actual relationship with another human being. I have a number of people on my Facebook who I have never met before, yet they are called my friends. I’m sorry, y’all, but y’all ain’t my friends. They should be called acquaintances, since the only reason we would know each other is through some mutual friends. The relationship I have with these people, and the relationship I’ve had with my friend I’ve known since I was two years old, is vastly different, yet they’re called the same thing!
What do you all think the effects social media has had on different aspects of our lives like friendships?