Aleks Krotoski posted an interesting topic on her Untangling the Web blog today – Friendship (see the post here). The question she raises has been something I’ve asked myself for a while – “What has the Web done to friendship”.
So, as every good geek does, I decided to write a reply…which I also decided to post here (read below) because I’m interested to hear what others think about online social networks.
Post your comments below….
Loved the topic this fortnight. Got me thinking about social, so decided to write……(sorry if it’s an essay!).
This is something I’ve been questioning myself. I see online friendships as a positive as apposed to “devaluing our close friends”. In fact, I would go as far as to suggest the opposite – it enhances existing friendships. I now feel closer to some of my non-virtual friends and I’ve also re-established old friendships which are now closer than they once were. For example, I found three of my old college friends through Twitter and found out they lived two roads away. We now catch up most days on Twitter or Facebook and I ask them for advice more than some of my real life friends.
Also, my wife and I got married earlier this year and the outpouring of love we received over social networks was overwhelming. We could share our day with people who could not be there, be it in another country or not able to travel, and it’s instant (not that I was Tweeting from the alter!). We even had congratulations cards from some of my Twitter followers.
My wife still doesn’t ‘get’ Twitter and was resistant to my use of it in the early days. When I started to talk about followers as if they were real people, it puzzled her. But the support, help, advice, and even jobs, I’ve got through my virtual friends often shadows that from my real ones (read into that what you will!). These were, nee are, strangers – but they’re real to me and as good a friend as a real life, fleshy person.
I am a digital person so this is a digi-centric point of view. That said, I know many technophobes who see the value in social networking (even my dad who sometimes refers to Twitter as Twitbook – how Freudian). But the immediacy of sharing thoughts, pictures, music, and more is easier over digital – something Zuckerberg pointed to during his speech the other week.
Social is an exciting area and is only going to grow.