Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter (& even texting & IMíng) are relatively new to our lives. Everyone is all over every aspect of social media & ‘quick contact’ and it is deeply engraved into our lives. It would be near impossible to ‘go back’ & I am very certain this way of interaction is here to stay.
I LOVE social media. I have made a career using social media, I have been able to heal using social media, I have built some very cherished friendships ( my 1 & 2 ♥’s) through social media. & i will never doubt it’s positive power in our lives – but I can’t help but wonder what it is doing to “friendship” as it is traditionally known.
Friendship to me means time, respect & affection and a reasonable balance of ‘work’ keeping the relationship alive. Phone calls, dates in or out (or a skype/phone date if there is some geographical distance) and a real interest in each other’s lives (both professionally and socially).
With the entrance of social media (& Facebook being a big one) has that time & interest in each other lives been replaced with a more ‘general & less impacted’ definition of friendship?
Does friendship now mean “liking” your Facebook status, RTing your tweet, a quick text message or private message through Facebook/Twitter? No more phone calls & ‘meaningful’ conversations outside of someone just needing something from you (ie asking you a business question, looking for a favor or information)? No invitations to birthday parties, social events, & general ‘check in’ gatherings?
When i look at my true friendships as i define them – they are a mixture of the two. There are some amazing people who i consider friends who i have never met in real life – we keep the friendship alive through skype video, text messages, emails to say we’re thinking of each other and phone calls. There are friends of mine who live close by & keep the friendship alive through dates, casual drop by’s, invitations (& actual attendance) to birthday parties & social gatherings.
The defining factor of friendship to me in both theses situations is the balance of genuine care, interest, time and requests for your “friend benefits”.
Not talking about ‘friends with benefits‘ but the unwritten ‘perks‘ that come with each friendship & how that relates to business: - access to business favors, professional connections, picking your brain about your specific talents/knowledge & anything that you would normally charge a professional fee for.
Is everyone who has access to my Facebook/Twitter profile a friend? Is everyone on that list then repeatedly entitled to the “friend benefits“ that we all have – simply because they casually interact with you on a social media level and asked for it? What about those relationships you used to consider a friendship but there has been no time invested & it’s now fallen to more of an acquaintance level?
How far/often are you expected to help someone on a business level who might fit more into the ‘acquaintance’ category based on your ‘outside of quick social media’ relationship (or lack there of). Is the easy & quick access to contacting someone blurring the lines of professionalism & etiquette when it comes to running your own business?
Is social media is blurring the lines between “Friends” and “Acquaintances” ?
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