I Have 284 Friends

    …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.

    3 thoughts on “I Have 284 Friends

    1. hey jesse,
      interesting thoughts there. i've been wondering myself about what that facebook thing really does… i guess it gives you the impression that you could potentially stay connected to people more easily. but as you said that way you'd really lose contact with the 'real world'.

      funny thing, though, that you posted this on facebook ; )

    2. i was actually talking with anne durand about facebook this last week. i did purging of my accounts (removed friends i don't talk to) within the last two weeks. the people i removed were people from high school that i have not talked to since graduating, or since becoming "friends" on facebook. i don't feel the need to be friends with them on facebook since i didn't feel the need to talk to them in all these years. honestly i'm not really that interested in what they are doing because i have friends from college i can barely maintain contact with, and they are not that interested in what i am doing based on their lack of contact. i think facebook is useful for providing a connection between you and someone who used to be a friend, but due to life's circumstances have grown apart. the friend is not someone you want to stay in weekly or even monthly contact with, but at the same time not someone you want to let go of completely.

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