One of the first articles I read this morning during my warming up, inspiration seeking time, was a TechCrunch piece called “The Beautiful Internet.” Kind of ironic, given my current article’s title.
Don’t get me wrong, I do like the Internet. And Facebook. But as much as we love Facebook and the way it serves us with quality time wasting, its true purpose is to connect us to friends. Am I right? Facebook is supposed to be a tool to make you closer to your closest friends and keep you close to those you don’t see often. With nearly 700 million users, you’d think connecting to people would be enough. But now, every time I get on Facebook I have another five plus invites to Scrabble or Farmville (yes, some people still play it) or some other odd game. But I digress.
Back to the point. Do we put too much trust in the promise that the Internet will help connect us to our friends?
An article published on CNN’s tech blog reports that some dissatisfied users are shunning Facebook for reasons like these. The author says, “constant status updates may inadvertently discourage more meaningful and sensory interactions that can only take place offline.” These constant updates create the illusion that you are learning about someone. After you’ve read enough status updates, a conversation might lack content. We are social beings who were meant to ask questions about how your day has gone or how the family is doing. Facebook takes that task out of our hands completely.
Another common blunder committed by Facebookers are all the empty Facebook promises. I have to admit, I have made a few myself. Those promises to attempt a real life interaction with a long lost buddy or co-worker that are nothing but back-and-forth, empty Facebook comments. Here’s a great example written for CNN’s Netiquette series:
“Hey Jimmy! I haven’t seen you in weeeeeeeeks! Therefore, in between promises of coffee and drinks and backpacking trips to Iceland sent via Facebook message and Twitter DM, I’m just going to go ahead and comment on everything on your Facebook Page, wantonly ‘Liking’ every new snapshot that you take with your webcam, alone in your room, trying out each hairstyle on Twin Shadow’s ‘Haircut Tour’ poster.
And, as those aforementioned promises never come to fruition, I’ll merely become an annoyance, a possible reclusive pathological liar who has ample time to hang on Facebook but can’t manage to scrape together two hours to see “Friends With Benefits,” even though we both posted the trailer on our walls and clearly would love to see such a wholly original film starring the extremely talented Mila Kunis. Peace out.”
It’s so true, isn’t it? You have now been warned and are no longer allowed to commit such crimes.
Don’t let Facebook, Twitter, and emails turn your perfectly good, solid friendship into a digital one. Bottom line here is: get off the computer, pick up the phone, and go visit your friends in the real world.