Sorry to open with a question, but do you consider your social media friends to be your real friends? Think about it. You share the same interests, the same values, you let each other in on the most important occasions in your life. You just don’t see them in person. But does that even matter?
To tell you the truth, a social media friend might be more pleasurable then a friend you have to see, smell or sometimes tolerate until you build up the nerve to tell them that thing that bugs you. Like how you hate the way they chew their food! Ha! Okay, okay. I’m coming back down. But what about this. Have you realized that you might have a buddy on Instagram that you trade ‘likes’ with?
Months could pass and you get to experience their lives through the phone with pictures and short messages. Is this person a friend? For arguments sake let’s say that you feel like they are, especially after a few hilarious DMs. Do you find it strange knowing that you could walk by a person on the street and not know that it was, say, fly_ magnet_500_pretty_Rick? Or be sitting beside jokerwitapoker27 on the #2 line from Kennedy to Yonge, and not even know it?
I’ve brought this up because I’ve experienced this myself. Being in a shop with thousands of patrons I ‘like’ a lot of random pages, follow who follows me, and on and on. A customer mentioned something I had posted and approached me in a manner that was full of familiarity.
It took me a minute to put the face to the Instagram name but when I did I felt a feeling of friendship. This person and I had gone back and forth liking each other’s post. So this customer Instantly felt like a friend. Strange? Maybe so! But social media has definitely bridged gaps where distance had been an issue.
With this whole new world of ‘likes’ and ‘friends’ the direct meanings of these words are changing! As much as it has sped things up socially however, the depth of our interactions have shallowed. Head nods, grunts, groans and the stale answer of “GOOD” which seems to be the new E=MC squared, are taking the place of real conversation and facial expressions.
So in short I believe that social media friends ARE friends. It’s probably safe to say that they are not on the same level as the brethren you almost drowned with that summer down by the creek. And what social media is doing to our interaction with each other on a whole is an entirely different blog.