Thursday, 28 November 2013

Friends, Friends and More Friends

Contrary to popular opinion, facebook friends are most probably not friends. 

I was talking to a friend of mine (first clue, you actually talk to friends) and he was saying that ‘he cleans-up his friends regularly’.  Now there is something that is inherently wrong about that statement.  Now I have had a few friends over the years and truth be told have never been 'cleaned-up’ by them.  If you have a really nasty ‘friend’ they might clean you out, but generally not clean you up. 
Thankfully he was referring to facebook or it was going to seriously affect the status of our relationship.

Now I suppose I will eventually need to put my name on this blog and open myself up to the world of cyber stalking.  You know all those people from your past that at some level, you wish would simply remain there; folk that are interested in your business but not actually interested in you. 
And so the stalking behaviour of choice in the new millennium is Google.  It used to be binoculars.  Whatever happened to the good old days of sneaking around in people’s bushes?  Now you simply type in a name from the shadows and skeletons of your past and see what they are up to.  The object of the game is simple.  Check and see what they are doing, not how they are doing.    

These days it has become a norm to meet someone and ‘do a background check.’  I am not sure what people talk about on their first dates anymore.  By the time that happens, people have thoroughly studied each other’s facebook profiles and know all of your favourites already, where you went to school, how many siblings you have... etc. 
In my case, aside from the contributions of The Change Addict there is little information about me in cyberspace.  My Master’s Thesis, however, does come up (The Change Addict doesn’t link to my given name, yet).  So not so long ago I had a guy who was interested in me until he read my Master’s Thesis Online on women’s leadership.  So any relationship potential was over before it began.  Eighty pages of intellectual prowess intimidated the poor bloke.  If he was actually brave enough to have coffee with me and get to know me, he would not have known about that for sometime... 

People have different interests and sides.  And the picture created in cyberspace is probably a bit like the tip of an iceberg.  Only about 10% is visible above the water and the rest is hidden below unless of course you're a bright spark and posted nude pictures of yourself; In that case the percentages might be the other way around. 
          
I do believe cyberspace does at some false level feed the need in human beings for social interaction.  I just think that the pretences and the circumstances are very false.  And while you might have a sense that people actually do care about what breakfast you had this morning, try and phone them in the middle of the night in an emergency and see what happens. 

Cyber relationships are really great if you are socially challenged.  You can say what you want to on one site and find a new site tomorrow to hang out with.  But you’re actually hanging with sites not people.
Somehow, I still prefer the traditional cup-a-something and a good old-fashioned face-to-face chat with my friends.        

So the conclusion of the matter is that you generally do not need to cull your friends.  And so the need to cull on facebook would indicate that many ‘friends’ may not actually be friends.  I have heard of culling elephants or other species of wildlife, but not friends.  Life tends to do the culling of friends naturally for you over time. 
And most importantly friends check and see how you are doing not what you are doing, which leads me to conclude that perhaps facebook and cyberspace may not actually be the ‘caretakers of connectedness’ they claim to be.