Friday, February 26, 2010

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Chapter 6 of Paul Levinson's book, New New Media, tackles the social "behemoth" of Myspace. When discussing such a social medium, the idea of friends comes up. In the chapter, Levinson appropriately raises the question of what is a Myspace friend? Is it a misuse of the word?

My interpretation of "friends" online is that when discussing social media like Myspace and Facebook, we all must redefine the word first. A friend in social media isn't necessarily someone that you see often, call, spend time with, or even have your trust. Instead, an friend in this realm is someone that shares common interests, share common friends which are online or in person, can be people you went to high school with, or just met. Therefore, the use of the term "friend" begins to have a new scope and meaning when we are using it with regards to those in our social media community.


  1. "Friends" online, as you point out, are certainly on a different level than those who we are friends with in real life. Becoming acquainted with people we normally never would have as a result of the Internet, brings up many questions, however. Does it show that the web has allowed for humans to expand and reach out to people in incredible, unthinkable ways? Or does it prove that the web has secluded individuals and has turned many of them into solitary loners who can only confide and have faith in those whom they've never actually seen in person?

  2. Personally, on Myspace or Facebook I am only friends with people I have met, which may be only once or twice. Now I may not be friends with these people in the traditional sense of the word, but I have no problem being an on-line friend with them. For the most part, I only comment to my friends who I know and hang out with on a regular basis.

    On an aside, I like the video.

  3. I agree, the video was a great touch haha.

    In the redefinition of the term "friend," I'd like to add that a "friend" is sometimes a complete and total stranger. I'd like to hope that people have enough sense to reject such requests. Sadly, that is not the case with everyone.

  4. What's wrong with making new friends? Or put another way, networking? It's a good point, though, some people take the term more to heart than others, and won't connect because it doesn't fit their meaning of "friend" while others don't take the term as literally. If we understand it as a metaphor for being linked, fine, but Neil Postman would also consider it an example of the "demeaning of meaning," and argue that we would avoid confusion if we used a different term.