Our very first guest post! How exciting is that?
Shaun Bernstein is a fellow journalism student. He likes long drives next to a beach and has hair the colour of fire.
Once upon a time, people used to have real life friends.
It’s true. You’d meet someone new at a party, exchange phone numbers, and make plans socially, maybe for dinner or a movie. Friendships would evolve into unique, complex relationships. Laughs were had, secrets were shared, roadtrips were remembered, and the best roadtrips barely remembered. And if a fight ensued, or a grudge was held, perhaps you didn’t speak for a while.
Of course, those days are long since over. Facebook has taken over whatever friendship means, or used to mean. Hellos have been replaced by pokes, and whatever was once said in a phonecall can now be chopped down to fit in a comment on a wall post. Writing a message is so much simpler than writing someone a letter. Really, when’s the last time anybody sent snail mail?
Facebook, to its credit, has a lot of advantages. Facebook is an INCREDIBLE contact management system that lets you keep tabs on your friends, and instantly praise their accomplishments. People love it when you take the time to wish them a happy birthday, or see that you “like” a status boasting something they’re proud of. Between cell phones, blackberries, and other PDAs, you have access to your friends wherever you go.
But when Facebook friendships go sour, it’s a whole other story. Just as easily as you can add a friend, you can now “unfriend” them, and wipe them out of your lives completely. With the click of the mouse you can not only not speak to them, but you can ensure that they never see you, hear about you, or have the ability to talk to you ever again.
Arguments can end, and friendships can mend. On Facebook, it can all be over with a fit of anger and the click of a button.
“Unfriend” was voted Oxford English Dictionary’s 2009 Word of the Year. I’m giving that a big fat “Dislike button.”