The concept of ‘friends’ has undergone a drastic change since the social networking bug bit the ‘urbanized’. And it bit us so subtly that even today we resist the very idea that we are infected by Facebookiosis, Twitterionia and the likes.
The most primitive way of making friends was to meet and talk in person. Then a certain Alexander Graham Bell’s invention was largely misinterpreted as a tool for verbal chatting. Things were still in control. The next big thing to rock the boat was the commercialization of e-mail. People largely used this to be in touch with people who were geographically far away.
But what really upturned the boat altogether was social networking sites. I’m no social network hater since it has got people back in touch with lost connections. But today everyone thinks that the coolest thing to do after shaking hands with anyone even once is adding them as a friend on some social networking site. And by doing that you accomplish some really cool things:
1. You get one more friend on your list.
2. Your list looks bigger that other people’s list.
3. You appear to the social networking world as a very social being.
4. You can remotely know almost everything about that one more person through their profile.
Incredible! That just adds so much more meaning to life, friendship, conversations, bonding and a lot of other words which look good in philosophy books.
So its absolutely fine if you never meet that person for another year or two despite staying in the same city or its perfectly justified if you never meet a certain office colleague outside office for non-official work. He/she still must be on your ‘friends’ list.
There was a time you had to be a friend ‘before’ and exchange numbers, e-mail addresses, home addresses, etc. ‘after’. But in the world of social networking you have to be on each others contact list ‘before’ and whether the friendship comes ‘after’ or not, can go for a big hike.
We’re all becoming home hermits who meet people less and less in the real world and have 1000+ friends in the virtual world. And for those of us who ask people to be friends first and then add them to our ‘friends’ list on a certain social networking site………..well we’re lost in the sea of anti-social social networkers.