Friend Redefined

I was trolling around my blog feeds the other day and came across a post, written by, Valeria Maltoni of Conversation Agent. The article revolves around the question, Are There Too Many Social Networks? Near the middle of this post, Valeria says the following:

How many friends do you really have? How many people can you really call friends? I mentioned I have an extensive network in a previous post, these are not all friends and most do not read my blog.

This is something I have been thinking about for quite some time. Here we are, in the middle of this web 2.0 social networking craze, adding people as friends that may not be friends at all. If I were to ask a majority of social networking users if most of the people on their friends list could actually be considered friends, I have a hunch that the answer would be no, which leads me to my next question.

With the advent of social networks, has the term FRIEND lost it’s meaning? Just because a user is on your friends list, does that make them a true friend? According to Wiktionary, a friend is defined as, A person other than a family member, spouse or lover whose company one enjoys and towards whom one feels affection. Can you honestly say that you feel this way towards everyone on your friends list?

If the meaning of the word FRIEND has changed, due to social networking on the web, then what would the new definition be? Am I paranoid, or does anyone else see a problem here?

2 thoughts on “Friend Redefined

  1. Hello Jeffro,

    thank you for allowing me to find you through this link. My thought is that friends and acquaintances are also based on shared experiences. In other words, they are situational and context based. For example, I have had many friends who were work colleagues Then, when I changed jobs or when they did, we remained in touch but not with the same level of daily interaction we had before.

    And you can think about school, neighbors, all the people who touch your life or are touched by you because of proximity and affinity. The same is true online. You may find like minded individuals and connect for a spell, then you or them change direction and you remain in touch, yet you are no longer *that* connected.

    I think the meaning hasn’t changed. We just have broader and more diverse circles of people we call friends, at different times.

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