Interesting article in the age today about the way we see our online friends so differently than we do in the ‘real world’.
Technology exposes us to vastly more opportunities for making social connections, and far more effortlessly than even a stroll down the street and a handshake.
But what are the implications of this? Do we make friends ‘too easily’ online, and then regret it later when our newsfeeds are cluttered with posts about Justin Beiber and ‘totes awesome selfies’. Today, ‘unfriending’ someone is like kicking them out of your house because they got drunk and vomited on your vege garden, the next time you see them it will be awkward and there will be that moment of hesitation when your forced to say hi – do you acknowledge it?
There are Facebook friends with whom you want to share everything, those you’ve grown apart from, and those you’ve barely heard of.
So how much do you want to share with each group, and do you even really need the clutter of people who probably don’t even read your posts? I think Facebook clean outs need to be done as the seasons change, and as you evolve as a person.
There are Twitter followers with whom your acquaintance is strictly professional, those you know from school, but didn’t necessarily like, and those who are your dad.
Maintaining a voice on Twitter is much more important, and keeping a pool of close acquaintances is not as important on this platform as it’s a lot more observational and overarching.
Social media builds social capital, rather than degrading it and online networks have a tendency to obliterate the nuances between different kinds of relationships. Despite Facebook’s lists, privacy settings and the rest, Mullany points out, “ultimately, somebody is either your friend on Facebook or they’re not. In real life, we’re very political about our friendships, and I don’t mean that in a bad way.” There are friendships we’ll let fade to nothing; others for which we’ll put on a facade for a few hours at Christmas; or friendships of necessity, where we’ll give the impression of intimacy without the reality.