Home > Opinions > Debate Fodder – Social Networking

Debate Fodder – Social Networking

Let’s keep this relatively specific – does the extreme use of the term “friend” on any website with social networking capabilities (Facebook, Twitter, etc) reduce the impact and meaning of the word?

It probably does, if you ask me.  Take a look at these figures:

“Average user has 130 friends on this site” – Now, you and I probably distinguish between what Facebook calls a friend and who you consider to actually be your friend – lots of the people you friend on Facebook are probably casual acquaintances, or perhaps even corporate marketing representatives (or shifty schemes). I know that on Youtube, I have a tendency to friend anyone who sends a friend request, because it makes both of us look more notorious and notable, increasing any chances of personal gain. One group I know does mutual subbing, even for groups that don’t even upload to Youtube, again most likely for the same purpose. I don’t do it myself, personally, but still.

Anyways, if the word does, in fact, suffer a loss of meaning, it’s not like we can’t start using other words to refer to various degrees of friendliness and intimacy, right? There’s always that good standby of “acquaintance”, since frankly, you’d see most of your social networking friends as that without the warm glow of the pixels lighting up to form the word “Friends” on your screen. But while it’d be moderately amusing to go through all these choices and suggest alternatives, it’d be better if you just sorted your friends into said groups – put the close friends in one group, the family in another, and so forth. I assume that some people already do that, but if you don’t – do us a favor, and do so. It reduces needless ambiguity.

Categories: Opinions Tags: , ,
  1. blackwatertown
    2010/04/03 at 19:14

    I expected to be agreeing with you wholeheartedly, but, surprisingly, I feel I have made some genuine friends via blog stuff. I’ve never met them. But I do have quite an insight into their lives and opinions about all sorts of stuff. I support them and gain support from them. All a bit bizarre, but there you are.

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