Google defines a “friend” as a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection. This is someone who you have a solid connection with that usually consists of multiple things in common. You typically enjoy each other’s presence and support each other’s beliefs, values, and desires. Friendships can range in intimacy, in
which you can have a lot of everyday friends, and maybe a few best friends. But no matter what, the typical friendship usually has common attributes amongst all.
When most people read the above paragraph, they would agree that the description highlighted would most definitely describe what a friend is. But with the rise of social media, the meaning of “friend” has changed. In regards to Facebook, one might say they have 645 friends. Some people will admit to not actually being friends with all the people they connect with on Facebook, but most genuinely believe they are “friends” with those 645 people. The same goes for Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram. A lot of people think that the number of people who follow them or add them on Snapchat are their good friends.
Does anyone else see a problem with this????
Of course many of those followers are your real and true friends, but I think it is crazy to consider all of them “friends.” I am definitely guilty of this back in high school when I first got Facebook. I added a bunch of people in my grade thinking that the more “friends” I had, the better I was viewed. My dad questioned me once I got up to a few hundred friends on Facebook, asking me if it was necessary to share pictures from my vacation with all of these people. Everyone was constantly uploading tons of pictures of themselves for everyone to see, and I honestly did not see a problem with it. But my dad made a good point: realistically, I would not go up to all of these people or start conversations to show them all my photo albums. I would only do this to my select group of friends who I talk to on a day to day basis.
People might narrow the concept of a friend down even further to those who “like” their posts and pictures. So maybe not all 600 people are your friends: you can finally admit that half of them are your acquaintances. But all those 300 people who “like” your Instagram picture…yup those are your real friends. They support you and throw you that like to make you feel good about yourself on social media. Here it is again though: that is as far as that “friendship” goes. Almost all of the many people who like your content on social media platforms do not know many important details about your life, nor would you ever tell them. Yet, many people will claim that they’re such great friends with all these people.
I’ve heard many individuals discuss how close they are with certain people who comment on their pictures, but in reality it is just a reciprocation from previous comments that they themselves commented on others (crazy how things work on social media, right?).
Social media has fabricated what people think true friendships are, changing the way people communicate as apparent friends. Comments, likes, and follows should not dictate real friendships. Meaningful, in-person conversations, strong bonds, and real mutual affection between two people should represent what a true friendship is. But, according to the norms of social media, you can become “friends” with people if you do a couple of simple tasks:
- Friend them on Facebook
- Be sure to make your friendship public for everyone to know
- Like their statuses on Facebook
- Give them the support they deserve
- Follow them on Instagram
- Can’t miss anything important that goes on in their lives
- Like every single one of their photos on Insta
- Again, showing that support
- Be sure to comment how great they look in those pictures
- Whether they look good or not, you have to show you’re a real one
- Follow all of their friends on every social media account
- Their friends are your friends, right?
- Retweet every single one of their tweets
- More support!
- Add them on Snapchat and watch every Snap-story
- These are very important moments in their lives; don’t miss them
- Post a Snapchat selfie with them
- Pics or it didn’t happen
- Comment how much you love them on every social media platform
- You guys are bffs!!!
It’s sad that people truly think that this is real and wouldn’t see the sarcasm behind these “rules.” Social media has brainwashed the people of today’s society, manipulating the concept of friendship. However, there are so many great perks that come along with using social media, being able to share components of our lives with the people we care about. But a line needs to be drawn to how much we actually share with these people we consider “friends,” when in reality they are nothing more than strangers.