friendships in todays digital world
Do you have online and offline friendships?
Today I had a conversation with someone on why they friend me on Facebook and then un-friended me before I could say yes or no. I thought it was quite amusing and led me to start thinking about friendships in the digital world today.
What is a friendship? Today being friends on Facebook seems to be the norm but do you really think that just because you are friends on a social media site that makes you friends? When I say I want to be friends its because I want to hang out and do things together in real life. Yes its nice to be able to have that view of their perfect little world that they want you to see on social media, making them seem more interesting than they might actually be but I need more, I need human interaction, I need beers and conversation to really be friends with someone.
When I was growing up and had friends we would call each other on a land line phone and talk or make plans to hang out. My biggest issue was that I always felt like I was the one making the effort to hang out with my friends and they almost never called me. This was very discouraging to me and I would drop friends that didn’t make the extra effort to be my friend. Technically I still do this nowadays, but I give people a little more leeway as we are all working and have families of our own and sometimes plans just don’t work out.
Most people my age have heard or have used AOL Chat rooms. They were the first iteration of the online communication of our generation. These chat rooms where amazing, you could talk to anyone anywhere in the world with a few click. My family used to say I spent way way too much time on the computer chatting to strangers (strangely enough I still do) and they were also concerned for my safety. Because everyone in the 90s thought that the internet was full of creepers and people trying to do me harm. I was looking for people in my area that had similar interests that would what to hangout, ride bikes, play in the woods etc. (keep in mind I was like 10 years old). I would think to myself “I’m normal and I’m on the Internet, so there must be other normal people on the internet too, right?”. My point is the internet was and has never been to replace my real life interactions, it has been a place to make new friends to then meet in real life and make the world a lot smaller and more accessible. I use the internet to bridge my online world and my offline world together.
If are friends with someone on Facebook (or any other social media site) and you almost never hang out, ask yourself why? Then do something to change that. Either by un-friending them or reaching out to them and rekindling that in real life connection, you know the one that reminds us we are alive?