Friendships and relationships have taken on new meaning in today’s online social lanscape, with networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Match.com, and the super-ego Facebook. The way our youth negotiate social develomental milestones is evolving to meet the demands of the information age. In this environment, what denotes a friendship, intimacy, and relationship will have to come into question. How will these new customs of establishing and maintaining friendships impact the overall social functioning of our youth?
Remember, when the baby boomers decide to retire and pass the baton, they will be the public servants who run our hospitals, schools, governments and nursing homes. Can our future adults be expected to reach the appropriate social milestones that they may be entrusted to rule and run the global complex?
Adolescence and young adulthood is a phase in an individuals life when they are heavily influenced by peer interaction. At a time when adolescents and young adults would be practicing their social skills and developing their self-identity, they are establishing virtual friendships on social networking sites with many people they have never actually met. As Aristotle noted “Wishing to be friends is quick work, but friendship is a slow ripening fruit.”
According to its creators MySpace was originally launched as music networking site that would allow musicians to connect and share music (2012). However, it soon allowed users to friend one another, with the click of a button, “Add Friend?” The desire to increase the number of friends is another trend of internet big-shot Facebook, where the average user has 120 confirmed friend connections (2009), and some say you can have up to 5000 “friends.”
Studies have shown that many of the profile are simply fake, humorous, and sometimes sinister, role-playing opportunities, that our youth have taken as real relationships (2010). Virtual Communities may not be the opportune place to gain the emotional support and physical connection that face-to-face interactions bring. To quote Aristotle again, “A friend to all is a friend to none.”
JRank Articles (2012). Anderson, Tom and DeWolfe, Chris – Creators of MySpace.com, Career, Sidelights http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/3903/Anderson-Tom-and-DeWolfe-Chris.html Anderson, Tom and DeWolfe, Chris – Creators of MySpace.com, Career, Sidelights
Retrieved January 21, 2012, from http://encyclopedia.jrank.org/articles/pages/3903/Anderson-Tom-and-DeWolfe-Chris.html#ixzz1k8mDKrGx
Sandberg, S. (2009). How Many Friends Can You Have?
Retrieved January 21, 2012, from http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=72975227130
Milana, K. (2010). How many “friends” do you have?
Retrieved January 21, 2012, from http://networkconference.netstudies.org/2010/04/how-many-friends-do-you-have/