A Growing Gaggle of Good Friends
We have good friends. And then we have Facebook friends.
All of my good friends are on Facebook; therefore all of my Facebook friends are good friends.
If you can still remember Philosophy 101, you know that this statement is a flawed syllogism.
It reminds me of the college student who, planning to take the GRE, reads that people who drink wine score better on the test. So she drinks a gallon of wine the night before the test.
If you haven’t communicated with a former co-worker for over ten years, is that person a friend? So now you connect because of Facebook and you say hello, how have you been? and he or she becomes a friend.
If you bump into someone on the street and you each say I’m sorry, does that constitute friendship? Of course not. It’s absurd.
But on Facebook, you can befriend anyone. You can befriend a Sherpa leading an expedition to the top of Everest and get a first hand account – that is, if the Sherpa has a Facebook account and at least an iPhone.
Strangers and friends lose their separate meaning and become one on Facebook.
There’s some status apparently in collecting a large number of friends. We gain a perpetual audience. We’re always on stage. Others seem to admire your growing gaggle of good friends.
Whatever we say or do, there are people who will listen and respond. Andy Warhol was wrong: With Facebook, we have fifteen minutes of fame whenever we want it.
But if you have five hundred friends and you tell them something you think is important and seven of your friends respond, how do you feel?
Maybe you’re still satisfied that someone in the universe is listening. Before Facebook, you were talking to yourself.