Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Facebook Friends

This topic was actually a suggestion by my very intelligent friend Zina, and when intelligent friends offer you blog topics you bloody well better take ‘em. What she was saying is something I have heard a lot of people discuss which is what exactly it means to be someone’s facebook friend.

From previous blogs you probably know that I’m very pro facebook, this is partially because I moved country and it is a very convenient way to keep up with long distance friends but it is also because I personally believe it encourages social interaction.

This is a sticking point for people, turning genuine social interaction or ‘face time’ into technological interaction or ‘facebook’ (see what I did there) is really a reduction in human interconnectivity or mingling.  The best example that I’ve seen of this is a commercial for a phone. They have a gentleman sitting in a cafĂ© and opposite him keep flashing different people who he is talking to, in the end you see in fact he is having a cup of coffee by himself texting away on his phone, the resounding message being ‘keep up with your friends’. It is difficult to know if that is what you are actually doing, or if in fact you are isolating yourself from the real life human beings sitting around you. Being on your phone certainly isn’t going to result in meeting someone new or feeling part of society so maybe technology is inhibiting social networking?!

Why do I think facebook is different from this?  I think facebook is different from this because your friend list tends to keep growing. Normally when you meet people at a party you don’t get to know them well enough to ask for a number or to suggest another meeting time, but adding someone to facebook allows you to explore the possibility that a new friendship could be forged. Zina said it best when she says it allows someone who is interested in finding out about you, to, well, find out about you. 

I really believe it is also useful for finding a relationship. By no means do I think facebook is a dating website, nor do I allow the lovely gentlemen from Egypt to add me after telling me ‘I have nice picture’. What facebook does do is eliminate moments such as those described by James Blunt where you meet someone you really like and then they are gone. Facebook enables people to stay connected after that first glance, reducing the crazy statistic that proximity is a discriminator for relationships. Socially it allows us to get to know more people, to reduce acquaintances and add more friends.

Facebook does a tonne of other crap too, like let people know what you are thinking about 24/7, share with others your likes and dislikes. It also sells most of your information to marketing companies for lots and lots of money. I guess sometimes you have to take the bad with the good, and marketing companies have always managed to get their hands on your stats way before facebook took off.  You have to be careful what you put up in a public domain but I have no sympathy for those who complain about it. If you pinned a picture of yourself onto a cork notice board in a community center and it was gone you would realize that it was a risk you were taking, posting stuff up on the internet is really the same deal.

I have this great link you guys should check out, it is from a hilarious show called the IT crowd, they do a whole episode on a new social networking website called ‘Friend Face’ and here is the clip. If you have time check out the whole episode here.

Anyway I must dash, things to do people to see, mostly on facebook in the farm I’m cultivating…just kidding I’m a nerd not a loser. (debatably)

Meryl xx

1 comment:

  1. Facebook really does help in making friendships. I've become friends with people who were more like acquaintances when we were in school. I wouldn't be hanging out or going to events with them if it wasn't for facebook. I've also been able to make friends of people I just met at parties and the like. I haven't had much success with the relationship aspect, though.