Monday, April 25, 2011

Thoughts On Social Networking & Friends

Used to be back in the day you would go to a club or other social gathering to meet your friends and they would introduce you to new friends or you would just happen to meet a new friend by saying hello!  Being in the life we would sometimes walk down the street and if you saw someone you liked you would turn back to see if they were looking back at you... sometimes called cruising.  In any event you met someone by actually getting the nerve to walk up and talk to them in person.  If you had something in common you might have met a new friend.  If there was an attraction you might have found yourself in a relationship.

To day it is all different…  I still meet new friends through my friends and sometimes I meet people who look back as I look back.. But that is rare. 

Now I meet new friends on Facebook and other social mechanisms including online personal sites.  I am represented by a avatar of myself, a photo or little drawing… or perhaps just a silly photo of a puppy or flower in the case of MSN.  Personal sites ask you to put in stats such as height, weight and what ever else. They might ask you to share you birthday/age, horoscope sign etc.  All of these stats allows the potential new friend to sort you based on things that wouldn’t or shouldn’t have any real input as to weather you were worthy to be a friend. 

Yes I can understand that these might influence who you wanted to be in a relationship with, people like what they like!  But filtering people who maybe a potential friend using stats just means you maybe be missing out on the best friend you have ever had in your life, the type of friend you used to meet when you met someone in person.  I miss those days.  

Sites like Facebook are changing the dynamic of the one thing most important to us… Human connection. 

I noticed tonight that 3 people had de-friended me in the past day… one of which was someone very important to me.  It stung.  I’m not going to even lie it hurt.  They left me with out having to explain why… they took an easy exit.  Were they my friend in the first place?  

Doesn’t seem so.  Perhaps it should be called Acquaintancebook because many people on your facebook are not your friends.

This past weekend I had a potential new friend bail on a visit to Toronto.   A visit I had invested in financially.  They bailed via Facebook using a plethora of reasons all within their control, had they called me it would have made the difference on how it made me feel.  

Again it is easier to type then connect.   Social networking has allowed a greater impersonal- ness to creep into our relationships.   Famous people are always sited for breaking up via a txt message or email.  What the hell is that?  Social networking allows people to avoid the fear of connecting when the news is not positive.   In my opinion if I have been dating you for the last year I need to have the balls to break up in person... otherwise I am simply communicating to you that you were never important to me in the first place.

I cant say I haven’t connected with new people on Facebook, I cant say I haven’t met people I now call friends as I have met many of them in person and they have been delightful individuals.  But then I cant say they all love ME warts and all and I can say that about my real friends.

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