Here begins a rather long rant about Facebook and the impact of social networking sites on the meaning of friendship.
The other day I was going through deleting people from my friend list who I haven’t spoken to in years and have no intention of speaking too. We all have Facebook friends from our school days or friends of friends that we once met at a party or worse, old friends of friends who you can’t remember where you met. They’re not friends. If it wasn’t for Facebook I would never see them again. Facebook, however, says they are friends and they can see what I’m up to, look at my photos and if they wanted, chat to me on Facebook chat (that would be awkward).
So if our Facebook accounts are full of people who aren’t really friends I wonder how this social network is affecting our understanding of friendship. Is it devaluing the whole concept of friendship, diluting what we believe and expect friends should be like? If so this is worrying as its use is so widespread, almost everyone in society uses Facebook. Anyone with access to a computer is tempted to link up with their ‘friends’ via Facebook. When my dad first tried it he asked me, “why are all of these people adding me?” He thought much of what people were writing as statuses was silly.
What’s a tad sad about this is that real and close friends are lumped in with all these other pretenders. They are just a few among hundreds of people. The news feeds can become full of junk from people we don’t even like that much. When I now hide people from my news feed I find myself wondering why we’re ‘friends’ at all.