Thursday, April 9, 2009

Of Facebook and Sound Bite Friendships

For the rest, what we call friends and friendships are nothing but acquaintanceships and familiarities formed by
some chance or convenience, by means of which our souls are bound to each other. In the friendship I speak of, our souls mingle and blend with each other so completely that they efface the seam that joined them, and cannot find it again.

Michel de Montaigne, Of Friendship

I seem to be having an existential moment with regard to all the faces on my Facebook page and wondering in what sense all these people are my "friends." No, no one's an enemy. I just question what the Facebook folks really mean by "friend." I can't say that I can remember the last time I asked one of my real friends a question like "which breakfast cereal are you?"

So...just what is Facebook, especially in its new twitter-like form? A way of telling the world in shorthand what you like, what music you listen to, what cause you espouse? And do all those kind faces really care? Do any of them really want to know what makes me tick? I get scant response to anything I post that I care passionately about.

Recently I was persuaded to become a "fan" of my place of employment, which now has a Facebook page. Next thing you know, I was "friending" co-workers. Am I the only one who draws a distinction between an affable working relationship and a friendship? I answer emails from students and faculty literally night and day, 7 days a week. Am I wrong to want my own niche in cyberspace wherein to meet and talk with people who have more in common with me that what I eat for breakfast...who want to know more about me than some obscure event in my childhood that I unearthed while completing an inane list of 30 questions...who want to read a bit more at length about something that I'm intensely interested in beyond a sound bite?

Michel, qu'en diriez-vous ?

Flash! Madison Avenue invents a new disease: Blog Smog (the condition you get from being at home blogging all day with your mouth closed)
...Dentyne is the cure

1 comment:

  1. Oh really you're so asocial! You should praise God and his ingineers who created that wonderful facebook where everybody knows and loves everybody!

    No more loneliness, no more war and hatred, friends all over the world, true friends with whom you share the same values, your deepest thoughts and all the secrets of your daily life! And last but not the least, you can look the face of your beloved true friend and send him/her your dearest gifts for a special internet price.


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