My Journalism 2.0 professor posed a curious question to our class yesterday. He asked, “How many real friends do you have?” He followed with, “How many friends do you have that you would feel comfortable calling right now and inviting to dinner?” He was mocking, of course, the massive lists of friends that we all accumulate using social media. I’m at around 1,500 friends on Facebook, and I certainly would not invite them all to dinner tonight. What I’ve noticed is that since social media has exploded the line between friend and acquaintance has been blurred. I know almost all of my Facebook friends, but even the explanation for “knowing someone” is different these days. A girl in my class, Liz, responded, “Most Facebook friends are people you have met a few times and would acknowledge if you saw them out somewhere.” I agree with that statement. But before social media that description would have been attributed to an acquaintance, whereas a friend would be the person you would invite to dinner, as my professor said. It’s interesting that not only does social media literally connect us with more people (and let us know what they are doing constantly), but that it also makes us feel more connected to the people with whom we associate on it as well. Should we be less connected, or is this a good thing?
For the sake of connecting just a bit more, you can click here for my professor’s blog. His name is Pipo Serrano and he has had quite a lot of work experience in various forms of media in his native Spain. His blog posts are funny and interesting and you don’t need to speak Spanish to read them because there is a translator on his page. Also, since our entire class has created blogs, click here to see Liz’s. It’s an artsy blog focused on graffiti and she’s got some cool content up. Both links are also below. Cheers.