baudman wrote:Pleasant fellow, eh?
I wonder what his take on 'pen pals' is/was. And, indeed, the historical practice of writing to friends*. It's this aspect that I see is what FB is the modern take on. It's the ability to share with others.
He does certainly see quite a few aspects of it very differently than I do. I'm highly conscious that I have friends I've met through various different means. And I've also chuckled at the way some of them have met each other. (I have a group of 5, me included, whom I know separately through different ways, and yet they all know each other through their own links - Kevin Bacon indeed!)
Some of what he says is somewhat true for some. But quite a lot of it is a little luddite/bah humbug/when I was a lad. But you see a lot of people just broadcasting anything/everything to anyone. (And some would most-like be saying pot-kettle-black in my direction on that front, but I do actually consider the intended audience each and every time I post).
*At various times in my life, I've found a friend I can write to invaluable - that 'distance', whether it is physical, or virtual, has allowed me to explore things that I would have struggled to do with them IRL.
Interesting article, but I'm dubious. Perhaps because I'm of the pre-internet generation, so can't know first-hand how people's understanding of friendship might be influenced by having grown up with it. I found myself disagreeing with point after point in the article.
The way I see it, people can choose to share intimate personal information/feelings with their 100s of facebook friends.... or not, as they choose, but either way I'm not convinced that it has to affect the quality of their close friendships with a smaller number of people. Some people may define close friendship by exclusivity of what "secrets" are shared, but this is an idea that has never made sense to me: as long as I am not violating anybody else's privacy, I could (hypothetically) tell something to one chosen person or I could tell it to 1000 people, without it either way making any difference, in my eyes, to my friendship with the one person. (I realise though that not everyone necessarily sees it this way, and that some people might really start to question whether a person is real friend if they find that everything the person shares with them is actually being shared with the whole world! I also realise that often "confidences" include referrences to other people, which I agree is a good reason for being selective, in these instances, as to whom you tell some things to.)
"Friend" is a word, and a word can mean more than one thing at a time, and the author has shown that this is the case even leaving aside the internet. I doubt whether any old-fashioned meaning of the word has really been lost.
Maybe I just don't know though.... maybe social media really has led a lot of people to feel that they no longer have time for one-on-one interaction specifically tailored to the person (or perhaps for younger generations, not to even consider this as an option a lot of the time!). If this is the case, then I do indeed agree with the author's concerns.
One thing I have observed (which I may have already mentioned in this thread in fact) is that perhaps even in my age group and older, it is becoming less acceptable for acquaintances to phone each other, now that there are the options of sms, email and facebook messaging (both between people who are "facebook friends" and between those who are not).... and I certainly think that is a loss if voice-to-voice contact is becoming limited to those who have already passed a barrier to be admitted to some level of friendship! I also have felt a bit uncomfortable with the tacit pressure to give "support" in written words to large numbers of people sharing their problems in posting groups or in social networking sites: you can feel sympathy/empathy for people without having to always jump on board.... but then perhaps often those who DO respond, however briefly and stereotypically, are those who win the person's friendship in the long term!
I'd sum up my response to the article this way: as far as I am aware, now as with the pre-internet days, people can CHOOSE what they tell to whom, and how worded. Nobody is forced to post hourly (or daily or weekly) updates of their lives onto facebook, nobody is forced to post private information, nobody is forced to use the facebook wall for all and sundry to witness the rekindling of old friendships or setting up of appointments, and what is more, amongst people's facebook "friends", people can choose who gets to see which posts. Nor have I noticed any change as to the acceptability of disagreeing with your friends or to offering them advice on occasion. But again, perhaps younger people are under social pressures in these regards, that I don't know about.