Funny the things you ponder as a way of distracting yourself from the fact you are freezing cold, have no electricity (hence no blog today, sorry) and the men replacing the electricity pylon appear to have managed to cut through your phone line…
But anyway, that is now done and we have internet and power restored which is a good thing so at least I can blog about this.
It struck me that the internet seems to be creating an illusion of friendship rather than actual real friendships.
When I first left University, back in the day*, friendships were sustained by phone calls, letters, meeting up and talking. Today it seems different, you pop onto Facebook for 5 minutes, ‘like’ the odd thing here and that is ‘friendship’.
Except it isn’t really friendship, it’s just an illusion.
I mean, how do you actually define friendship? Surely it’s more than just checking what someone has posted recently and clicking a virtual button? Surely it has more to do with a willingness to put yourself out? To spend time chatting on the phone, to drop everything to pop over when something goes wrong, to understand, to empathise, to care?
But actually, how many people are there that would do that for you? How many would you do that for?
I’m sure I read somewhere that historically, an adult human would only have close friendships with a handful of people – more was just not sustainable. And thinking about it, it isn’t sustainable from either the supporting or the receiving end.
So does the fact that we have hundreds of ‘friends’ on Facebook or Twitter actually disguise that perhaps we don’t have proper friends any more? Are we actually an incredibly lonely generation despite the illusion of immense social networks? Have we been lulled into a false sense of friendship when few actually exist? And more importantly, are we failing to nurture the friendships that count because of all these acquaintances we are interacting with? Have social networks actually killed off real life social networks?