The Difference Between Real Friends and Facebook Friends

Excerpt from :

Social Media Friends

Social media has become a virtual world where relationships are sustained via the instant messaging of short little blurbs and the posting of random photographs followed by the arbitrary "like" button. In a world where the concept of friendship has become digitized, it is somewhat difficult just to even define the concept of friendship. Old world terms or traditional norms seldom apply in the 21st century where everything from sex to gender to political affiliation has taken on a new meaning of its own in recent years. So when the subject of friendship and social media comes up, the first thing to do is define the concept. If "friends" is being defined as someone you at least talk to (if not face-to-face then at least over the phone) in order to catch up on each other's life, as someone you take that much interest in and feel devoted enough to actually give that kind of time to, then social media does not make a good breeding ground for real friends. However, if "friends" is defined as someone who follows your Twitter feed ... well, let's just say that's not how I define "friends." I take the Old World, traditional norm perspective. Friendship should be deep and something you care enough about to work at (which means there should be real contact with that person -- not just an acceptance of updates via Facebook, without any follow-up in person or on the phone -- after all, there is more to communication than 120 characters). This paper will show why friends on social media may be real friends but only if you treat them as such by incorporating real communication (face-to-face time) and real consideration for them into your life.

Why is communication important? Without it there is no transference of ideas, of emotions, of empathy and sympathy. Say a "friend" on Facebook posts that she just got married. Do you care enough to congratulate her in person or over the phone? Or are you hurt that you weren't invited to the wedding, thinking all this time that you were such good friends because you had connected on Facebook? Real friendship takes a lot more work than the click of a button. Friendship is about communicating a real devotion to one another: it is about being part of that person's life, not just a follower on social media. It doesn't mean you can't be a follower on social media -- it just means that doing so does not make you "real" friends. That is the first reason why just because you have "friends" on social media, it does not mean you have "real" friends in real life.

The second reason your social media friends are not necessarily "real" friends is that you probably do not incorporate their lives into your life the way that actual friends do: this means celebrating their joys and accomplishments with them, sharing in their grief and sorrow with them, and offering your support and assistance in times of need. This is the "work" part of friendship that real friends know all about. If friendship were easy, everyone on the planet would be friends -- but it isn't, and being connected digitally is not all it takes. Say a "friend" on Facebook is moving. Do you take time…

Sources Used in Document:

Works Cited

Dailey, Kate. "Friends with Benefits: Do Facebook Friends Provide the Same Support as

Those in Real Life?" Writing Today: Brief Third Edition. Eds. Richard Johnson-Sheehan and Charles Paine. Boston: Pearson, 2016. 202-205. Print.

Staples, Brent. "What Adolescents Miss When We Let Them Grow Up in Cyberspace."

New York Times. May 29, 2004. A24.

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