It’s crazy for me to think that besides family I only have one friend I’ve known longer than 10 years. A friend that I talk to regularly. I met him when I was only 14; that was back before the internet was used by all. Back before social networks were a thing. Back when relationships were personal. You bonded with friends by making memories, not by liking the same status. Back when you couldn’t just click a button and erase someone from your life. Those days are gone forever, and Facebook has swooped in. Smothering the days when a hang out was drinking a shake with friends at the local In and Out Burger.
Social Networks like MySpace, Facebook, and Google Plus have completely changed the way we interact with each other. For better or for worse, that’s for you to decide. I believe social networks have solved a problem. Growing up I never had pictures of my friends; I also never got to share in the excitement of events going on unless I was there to see it myself. Also growing up in a broken home and going from one side of the bay area to the other made it hard to stay connected. Facebook and the like solved this problem for me. It’s allowed me to stay in contact with friends and reconnect with old ones. It’s allowed me to share my sons first words and first steps with family that lives too far away to ever take part in my sons life. While social networks have their uses they’ve now evolved into something more. No longer is Facebook about keeping contact with friends and family. No it’s much more then that now. It’s now about addictive games and their million invitations to play. It’s all about those pointless, sexual innuendo filled status updates. What’s really going on here is FLUFF.
Because of Facebook there is no reason to pick out a card and fill it with a few photos and take the time to mail it to a family member. Now with a few clicks everyone you choose (and sometimes ones you don’t choose) can see the photo you uploaded. The responses if any are sometimes automatic. “lol,” “omg,” “Wow,” “congratulations.” No thought is being put into these comments. This isn’t true interaction! I have a good reason for thinking this, let me explain. A few months ago right after the Super Bowl I deactivated my Facebook account. I didn’t think that I needed it. Three months after deactivating my account and not one phone call from any friend, nor family member asking me where I went. Just complete silence. For all they knew I was dead and nothing in their life had changed. I was just a meaningless status update missing from their timeline that wasn’t missed at all. That’s kind of depressing.
Thanks to Nick Eller’s thought provoking blog post, Facebook Is To “Friend” What Apple Is To “Genius”, it got me thinking about my “friends” on Facebook. Most I’ve lost touch with so much so that hanging out with them in person would just be awkward. The conversations would be dry and forced instead of engaging and flowing. People change over time. As they are growing and experiencing the world their views change and you can’t experience that gradual change through a distant relationship. Nothing is better than personal interaction with friends. This is where I think a change is needed. We need less FLUFF and more of the real stuff.
If you care to know me and want to build a friendship, that can happen on Google plus, in hangouts, and in person. Let’s debate, participate in conversations. Come to Google Plus and hangout with the smart people. All kidding aside, I’d love to make new friends to hang out outside of social networks and Google plus coupled with ingress is making that happen.
A question I pose to you is if you deleted your Facebook account who would care? Would anyone notice?