Are we friends or ‘friends’?

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Your on Facebook for the tenth time today, a little message pops up telling you that John Doe wants to be your Friend. Whether you know John that well, are best friends with him or are just acquaintances does not matter as much as it use to, he is requesting to see if you consider him a friend.

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After reading “Friends, Friendsters, and MySpace Top 8: Writing Community Into Being on Social Networks Sites” by Dana Boyd, there was a thought that came to mind. Is it possible that with the use of the word ‘Friend’ being used more frivolously than previously and that the use of this word is being used in context where the word is used on a site that documents and records your friendship from the point of acceptance leading us to accept the term friend as being nothing more than a loose piece of terminology?

The idea of what the word ‘Friend’ means, as point out by Boyd is that “In everyday vernacular, a friend is a relationship that involves some degree of mutual love or admiration.” (Friends, Friendsters, and MySpace, Dana Boyd, pg 3). Thus this idea that in order to be a friend with someone that it is a mutual process of enjoying one another equally.

However, with the rise of social networks and their use of the word ‘Friend’, it seems that this may not be the case. Boyd later points out that there are more than just one factor that constitutes what how people use the word ‘Friend’ whether it be with how people talk with one another behind each others back or how they address one another. But this still does not go into the idea that when you go on to a social network and accent a friend request that is from someone you don’t know, does that really constitute a friendship?

In reality the term Friend may be used to much with modern social networks to the point where it doesn’t really hold as much merit or value as it previously had. It is simply a term that we have grown accustomed to and have used more often than could be warranted.

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