We are all a number of different people at the same time. There’s who we think we are, who we want to be, who we want others to think we are, etc. Sometimes these things are aligned but most of the time there are differences between these various parts of ourselves. It is these differences that lead us to form friendships. We all have the need to reveal who we really are and a need for acceptance of that person.
A close friend of mine feels that technology is changing the nature of friendship. She feels that things like Facebook and Twitter are removing the impetus for people to interact face to face, and that losing this interaction makes friendships less meaningful.
When Facebook launched in 2004, I was 34 years old, married and living with my wife in an apartment we owned. I suppose that I was not in the target demographic for Facebook. I was old enough to have grown up in a time in which you didn’t keep people informed of everything you thought or did. I was also (and still am) happily married, so tracking down old lovers was not of interest to me. I don’t need to be on Facebook for business reasons. In sum, I can’t think of a single good reason to get on Facebook while I can think of plenty of reasons not to (including old lovers trying to find me).
Even though its not for me, I do believe in the possibility of friendship through Facebook or Twitter or other social media. A friend is someone you can tell what you really think, reveal who you really think you are. The only consequence of social media is that maybe the boundary between you private and public self is breaking down. Is this a bad thing? After all, wouldn’t we all be better off if we could live our lives as openly and honestly as possible? I think maybe it could be but I also wonder about unintended consequences of all this. I continue to stay off Facebook.