In sheer contrast to the past, today’s world is a harsh and bleak nightmare when it comes to friendships. Everyone is constantly preoccupied with numerous social media accounts and we are bombarded with information about our friends all the time.There is no reason to ask the person next to you on the bus, what stop you should get off. You have an app for that. Meeting friends at a bar? All the questions related to the logistics of this hangout can be solved easily by your generic run-of-the-mill messaging application. A blue double check mark is all you need to know.
The interaction between people keeps getting less and less personal. Everything has become digitalized. When you want to congratulate a work colleague or a friend, you give him or her some form of digital appreciation (I.E. “the like”). Owing to the smartphone and it’s camera, we don’t have to describe our latest vacation to our friends. They have already seen all the photos we have shared and are not interested in hearing the stories associated with them. Social media has become the place where we show and share our love for our friends. And we expect the same to be given back to us by our friends. The funny thing is that, we have gotten to a point where we measure our friends and friendships by these things.
Once our friendships were built by shared experiences (in real life). A fun night at a party, a weekend excursion in the wild, a hairy situation you got out of. You would usually meet up with one or all of your friends on a daily or weekly basis (or at the very least, talk to them). Nowadays, we mostly interact with our friends by exchanging messages or by using a social network. And once we are there, we have a feed that lets us know how many times we liked each others posts or how many pictures we were tagged together.
Surely, I am not making a statement against social media platforms and saying they are all bad. But while the benefits of these applications are clear, saving people time and making it “easier” to connect to one another. One should ask, if these are really benefits and if so, what have we actually benefited from them?