…at least according to my Facebook profile. I looked through all of them the other day as I wanted to send out a message about this website. You know what? There are people in there I can’t even remember, I have no idea how I know them! And there are a lot of people who I haven’t talked to in years. We were acquaintances at best.
Social networking websites like MySpace and Facebook came about so that you could connect with people. I certainly see some amount of value in keeping up with people from far away; it’s not a bad thing. But it’s interesting to me that as we’re able to connect with people easier and easier, it gets harder to maintain all of those friendships that we now have the ability to keep up. Could I realistically keep up friendships with 284 people? Yeah right.
Sometimes I wonder (and I’m sure I’m not the first) if all of these friends, if all of this “easy contact” I have with people all over the world enabled by the Internet, email, instant messaging, and social networking sites has actually made it harder to maintain a real friendship with anyone?
Instead of telling people about an important event in our lives, we post it on Facebook. Instead of calling someone to see what they’re up to, we just Facebook them. Instead of stopping by someone’s place, it’s much easier to send out a Facebook invite.
It’s all about convenience and making communication easier. After all, how often do you have a meaningful conversation through these sites? Even our face-to-face conversations may change; we are so used to having these little snippets of friendship that we are not used to conversing about the deeper and more important things in life.
Friendship is a two-way street, giving and taking. These sites are all about the taking, we post only what we want to post, and we read only what we care to read. When all we do is take, we find that no one wants to give back. I’m not sure I believe that you can maintain a friendship through a social networking site, at least, not fully.
Why am I dissin’ these sites? I have no idea, truthfully, I have nothing against them. I’ll continue to use my accounts and talk to people through them. I guess my challenge is to continue to build real friendships with those around me and to not let the “bad habits” of online contact seep into my everyday life.