We have reached an era of decline in personal relationships. Thanks to social networking sites we have hundreds of “friends,” which makes us feel better about ourselves. We can tell ourselves that we’ve reconnected with long lost friends and that we can better maintain these friendships when everyone can be found in one place. But are we doing ourselves any favors when we get online and have short shallow conversations with people we barely know anymore?
What is the point of Twitter? To be able to constantly and instantly send updates to your “followers” as to what you are doing. These messages, which are limited to 140 characters, are short by design and not usually of any importance. Along the lines of “I’m going to this place” or “I’m watching this movie that I love.” Who cares? Unfortunately the assumption is that if someone is following you that they are interested in the minute goings on of your life. Ask yourself if you really care when you receive those tweets. Does it make your day to know your friend is going to the store?
Not quite as pointless but still kinda sad is the fact that people are now following celebrities. These are people you don’t even know and who don’t know or care about you. Why are we so concerned with what the rich and famous are doing? A better question is, why is it that these celebrities, who claim they want their privacy, are so willing to share the unimportant events of their lives with their fans? Worse yet are the celebrity impersonators who tweet as though they are the celebrity or who only tweet about the celebrity. All I can say is, get a life.
Other sites, like Facebook and MySpace, are at least a little more extensive. There you can share more about yourself and what’s going on in your life. It’s not quite as shallow as Twitter. But these sites still perpetuate the myth that your “friends” are really friends, as opposed to merely acquaintances. People tend to have hundreds of friends, as they searched for anyone they have met since they were 5 years old. And with more and more people joining these sites, more and more friends are “suggested” for you to add. Take a good long look at your list of “friends.” When was the last time you actually saw them or picked up a phone and had a real conversation? And no, a conversation does not consist of you posting a random sentence or two about your plans for the weekend and a friend responding with “hope you have fun.” How many of your “friends” have you not had any real contact with, even on the site? You read what they are up to, but either their post is something that does not require a response (i.e. I’m going to bed), or you just don’t care enough to comment.
People, pick up a phone and talk to your friends. If you find that you’ve called someone that you really don’t have anything in common with anymore, then let them go. If you have a friend or a follower and you don’t even have their number, then definitely let them go. And don’t text! Have a real conversation where you talk and respond with words, not lol. Better yet, go out to lunch or dinner and build a meaningful relationship.