Closeness or Falseness

>>  Thursday, June 16, 2011

Do you think that Social Media is helping you to get closer to your friends and truly stay connected?

Is it giving you an excuse not to be really close and support with your friends but give the false impression that you care?

Are you forming fake friendships in social media, getting interested in the minutiae of a stranger's life at the expense of your real friends?

Have you found friendships on-line that are genuine and lasting?

For me the answer is yes to all 4.

A Gaggle of Guiders uploading to FacebookCertain parts of Social Media are very healthy for me.  The Guiders I am actively involved with are incredibly supportive online and we build understanding and friendship that we would not if we only saw each other once a week in the manicness of a meeting.  We work better as a team for having that understanding.  I have made contacts with other Guiders that I have never met but have given me an incredible level of help, support and advice.  I know if I needed a hand in a desperate situation they would be there.

I read on a Nivea Facebook Page an explanation to this:

"Modern technology also allows us to tap into the basic building blocks of closeness. Scientists have identified self-disclosure - the sharing of personal information - as vital for feeling connected, and it’s now thought uploading pictures onto social networking sites like Facebook functions as the visual equivalent of a catch-up over coffee.
It gives friends the chance to see what we’ve been up to, revealing something about our hobbies, holidays and relationships with others. And the interactive nature of photo sharing means our pals can comment and ask questions about the pictures – a form of responsiveness, which is another closeness essential. We are then able to respond in turn, and this online dialogue is likely to lead to the development of positive regard and mutual understanding, the final two building blocks of intimacy. In short, new technology provides us with some of the important elements we need for true closeness."

But what about those relationships where it is a great excuse  'not to catch up', you send 'hi, how are ya?" messages and lose the guilt that you haven't picked up the phone or responded to the 'we must get together requests'.  I do this and I feel guilty for it afterwards.  I tend to prune out those Facebook contacts and just take a big hit of initial guilt and drop the long term drip guilt.

Sometimes Twitter seems to swallow my time at the expense of real life friendships.  I know more about someone living 2000 miles away and their daily living and feelings, than my best friend down the road.  I get sucked into being interested in @youdontknowmwandwillnevermeetme.  But when I need a friend, really need a friend, they won't be the person that I turn to, so why do I give my precious time to watching their streams?

Blogging can be the same, there are some people whose blogs I have read for a long time that I feel very close to, and yet I don't 'know' them.  Am I in a false one sided relationship?  Do I con myself that they may care about the real me too?

But sometimes those online friendships do strike gold and real and long lasting friends are made (I married one).

I guess life is about balance, knowing when the technology is supporting you and feeding healthy growth and when to put it down and touch the human.

These thoughts were prompted by Nivea's 'A Million Moments of Closeness campaign'.  They've got a competition running at the photo buffs amongst you should have a look at it.

I would be interested to hear your opinion of how close you feel to on-line friends and The Debate is also worth continuing at the Nivea page.  

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