My Friends are Real (at least as far as I can tell)
Before I start rambling on here, I would just like to get it out there that I don't have a problem with social networking sites. I just think that there are some risks to a person's quality of life. But then again, how can anyone really decide what makes a quality life.
I have definetly used a social networking site before, myspace, because of people demanding that I join. They tried to get me to join Facebook AND Myspace, but I chose the latter for my first step. The reason that they used to convince me that it was a great site was about how it made it easy to keep in touch with people all around the country. This made sense at the time as I was travelling around the gulf coast with my buddy, Ben, making all sorts of friends. Behold!!! It did make it easy to stay in touch with them!
With this ease of communication, comes a price. Maybe the price isn't too steep for most, but I'm pretty thrifty when you get right down to it. It becomes a sort of obligation to send them a message every once in a while to prove that you still want to be friends. The worst is when they send form letters to everyone telling everyone the boring details about all that they did in the past month. Truth? I just don't give a shit. I would love to hear all about the close calls, crazy adventures or original thoughts on an interesting topic. I don't really care that someone just got a new job at a coffee shop or are planning to drive to the coast for the weekend. People probably don't want to know that I am reading a book, drinking coffee, and listening to old time bluegrass. I also don't need to be updated on a person's mood every hour. Besides, they could just be lying about their mood anyway, I put nothing but lies on my page!!
After a bit of contemplation, I came to the conclusion that friendships need to fade away. I have friends who I have been close to for over a decade, but I can call them on the phone and see them in person whenever I feel like it. The friendships that are formed when travelling are an exciting part of a trip, but after that, there just isn't much point. If a person isn't going to call or visit, are they really friends? Maybe I'll run into them again later in life or look them up if I'm heading to their neck of the woods, but I don't need to stay in constant contact. So I sent out my phone number and address to all of my "friends" and deleted my account. I don't miss it that much.
I also find it strange that people use the number of friends they have on a social networking site to gauge their popularity. Who the hell wants 1274 friends? I would take one real friend over a thousand electronic ones. By the way, if anyone who reads this is friends with Coldplay or U2 or what ever bands the kids are listening to these days, they aren't really your friend. If you knocked on Bono's door because he was a Facebook friend, he'd probably call security.
In the end, I guess it just comes down to how you define friend and what you want out of a friendship. I like to sit around bonfires, walk through the woods, and drive around the country camping with my friends. Then again, I have never taken my computer camping with me, so I may not be being fair. If you have a social networking site, great, I've got no problem with that, just remember that there are real people out there that can be your friend as well. Don't let it take over your life. Who you are on-line is not who you are in real life, or such is my idea of reality.