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?