Friendship & social media

The majority of people, and especially those I know, have an account on Facebook. We’ve seen people with 50 friends and we’ve seen people with 800 friends. Which one is more likely to be true? How many of those friends are true friends? And how do you know who they are.

February 6th 2020 gave us an article entitled “The history of Facebook” written by Mary Bellis. Hi Ms Bellis told of how Mark Zuckerberg, a then second year Harvard student wrote computer software which eventuates into a website called ‘TheFacebook’.
TheFacebook launched on February 4th 2004 and was initially limited to Harvard students. However to grow the website and increase traffic, Zuckerberg’s fellow students were brought on board. The team widened to include further universities and colleges.
Napster founder Sean Parker came on board as Facebooks president, the domain name was purchased and as they say in all the greatest stories…the rest is history. By 2009 the website would report that Facebook had become the worlds most used social networking platform.
Zuckerberg can sit pretty now holding the illustrious title of ‘worlds youngest multi billionaire’ but he has used his wealth for good. He signed a pledge with others of wealth to donate half their wealth to charity, this he has begun to do.

Has Social media impacted your Friends list?
Facebook friends lists can be small or large. As the world turns we reflect on the days of our youth before facebook, when becoming friends meant getting to know someone, spending time with them face to face.
Nowadays thanks to social media and networking sites such as facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on, there is a compulsive need to “have friends”, a need to be liked if you will.
In 2015, on the web site Jacoba Urist discussed how she had read a column by Pamela Paul of the New York Times. The subject being “How to be liked by everyone online.”
The column discussed how social and psychological normalities that we are able to reflect on from our childhoods are now changing. The column showed how effortless it is to be a social media friend and how it is equally effortless to end that friendship.
Think back to when you were a young child and what did “being a friend” mean? How did you “make friends?”. Nowadays making friends is as simple as clicking “friend request” or “follow me” on a networking site.
As you will remember being taught in English, if you say “to do…..” it is a verb, a doing word, that’s what we were always taught. So if you lay this lesson over the top of Facebook, you will note that we say we are “going to friend someone.” We are showing friendship as a verb. My question being, since when is friendship something we are going to do? Shouldn’t it be something that comes naturally and something we have?”

Facebook friends v True Friends v Acquaintances.
Reflecting on facebook friends using my own list as an example, I can say I have 134. I can narrow this to: Family: 40; Work colleagues: 10; Close Friends: 26; Late husbands army friends: 6; School friends that I keep in touch with: 5; Nursing friends:11 and other: 36.
Of those, I can say I talk to family as anyone would. Chat away when there are things to tell and catch up when you can. My late husbands army friends found me on Facebook after his passing and have been a lovely addition for me to have. I don’t feel that I have to have conversation but it is beautiful to be included in his army life and the commemoration that they had on Remembrance Sunday for him and others. Nursing friends are always a pleasure. Thirty year friends with memories a plenty. My school friends go back to when we were in infants and junior schools.
My true friends, and by true I mean someone that I can call at 3am if I need them, I can count on one hand. Those are the friends that I know well, can trust and rely on.
Of my true friends there is always one in particular that comes to mind. When a friend doesn’t need to be called and turns up. When a friend brings dinner at a time of need. When a friend tells you that you’re going for dinner. When a friend texts a message to ask you are at just the right time. When a friend says ‘call me for anything’ and you know that they mean it. You know that is a true friend. Hold onto that friendship.
When I look at some on Facebook and see the number of friends, I wonder how many of those can be relied on. I know someone with over eight hundred friends and at the other end of the spectrum I know someone with sixteen. I have a member of my family who has twenty eight. I know someone with four hundred and twenty as opposed to someone with forty nine.
Has social media removed personalities from friendships? Has it turned us into media friends as opposed to social friends that meet for a drink and so on? Has social media turned us into a name on a page that can just as easily be deleted as accepted?
Friendships are valuable. Friendships are a priceless commodity that should not be limited to social media. Turn off the device, delete a social media account and become a true friend.