My beautiful sister, Danielle, posted this on her Facebook a month ago and I wanted to share it with all of you. I hope it challenges your idea of community in such a digital world. – Brittny
“Buddy. Pal. Mate. Chum.” Whatever you call it… What is a f r i e n d ?
Good ol’ Webster says:
- Friend (fre nd) n. – A person known well to another and regarded with liking, affection, and loyalty.
— I’m currently taking a Sociology of Mass Media course at school and it’s given me a new insight on this word we use to classify the people we know as “friends”. Through the use of social networking, our internet capability has given us accessibility to people, news and events around the world almost instantaniously. This has positive and negative effects on society. With sites like facebook, twitter, foursquare etc. we provide information to a community of people that notifies them about our personal lives, opinions and emotions, our current events, even our where-abouts. We’ve becomesocially transparent. For some, this shift in interpersonal relationships has been a positive thing. It’s made communication easier for those who have a hard time talking to people in a social setting. But, we are slowly becoming a generation of social media dependency that even I am guilty of. You’d be lying if you said you’ve never signed onto facebook and browsed your friends profiles to see what they’re up to, instead of picking up the phone or driving to their house to see how they’re doing. It’s just quicker and more convenient for us to sit in our room and read a computer screen as opposed to actually communicating and interacting with another person face-to-face. This has caused a negative impact on how we view one another. There is no validity in a status update or a picture posted to their wall about a person’s well-being.
“Facebook ” couldn’t be a more appropriate name for the site we update day to day. Everytime we sign on, we hide our face behind a screen that allows us to become an open book to the people on our friend list. This prevents us from interacting with one another and creating real relationships.
- Did you know the average user spends about 15 hours and 33 minutes on Facebook per month? Scary, huh?
Our generation has become mesmerized by social media interaction. Think about it & ask yourself these questions: How many people are on your friends list? Now… how many of those people do you talk to or see on a regular basis?
– and I don’t mean through your computer screen. Sometimes I ask myself who some of them even are. As sad as it is, it’s the truth. Social networking has created a gap in how we interact with the people around us. We add friends we met just once to see who they are, where they’re from, what mutual friends we have. Where we used to visit friend’s houses, we’ve replaced with visiting pages. We no longer have to memorize phone numbers, birthdays or anniversaries because they’re right at our fingertips. [Side Note: I don’t want anyone to think I’m anti-social networking, internet or social media as a whole, because I’m not.] I like being in contact with old friends I haven’t seen in awhile. I enjoy getting updates from friends I have all over the world. I just think we need to change our ways and our intentions. I don’t want the way my profile portrays me to reflect the person I truly am. There are truths behind it, but in all honesty, I want to change.
As you know, the season of Lent has arrived and we are asked to sacrifice one thing we normally find is a necessity on a daily basis. Some people give up chocolate (because who can deny that stuff?). Others give up soda. I’ve tried to give up profanity in the past. But this year, I’m taking a different approach. I’m going to give up facebook for awhile. Now I know that people say that all of the time and classify it as just a “cry for attention”, but in all seriousness, I want to change this dependency. I want to put myself out there in the world and interact in a new way. I don’t want to sit here and obsess over why my old friends haven’t contacted me. I refuse to be ashamed of my real life that I have to play a different role online.
So, dear friends, this is my request . Whether you live a few miles away, or across the globe. Take the time you would have normally logged onto facebook and apply that in other areas of your life.Make a change. Face the issues you’ve been dealing with and share them with someone else. You’ll feel better about yourself because you got it off your chest. Don’t be afraid. Confront the person you’ve been shutting out of your life. Spark up a conversation. Talk to an old friend and meet up with them to see how they’re doing. Create new memories. Visit family you haven’t seen in awhile.Make a new friend. Say “hello” to a complete stranger, it might just change their day. Write a letter. Send it to a friend who lives far away. Leave your mark. Say or write encouraging words to someone you know who needs them. (or on a card & place it anonymously where they wont see it.) Just so they know someone is thinking of them. Pass it on. Be kind to someone else and ask them to participate with you.
This is true interaction.
On that note, I’m signing off. But I’ll be back. If you’d like to get in touch with me, please do before I take off. Message me. Write me a letter. If you have my number, contact me. I really want this to work and I hope you try it too.
Operation friend request is a go.
Until next time.