What’s Happening to Friendship?

September 22, 2008

About once a week I get an email saying that someone whose name I don’t recognize wants me to be their friend on “MyFace.”  I’m using “MyFace” as a generic name for the half-dozen or so internet services that supposedly keep track of friends.  I’d have no quarrel with their services if I felt that the emails actually came from people wanting to be my friends – but I’ve discovered that some or most of these services send out their emails rather indiscriminately.  In one case, the system – when you join by acknowledging someone as a friend – sends an invitation to every address in your address book.  In another it somehow identifies every Yahoo! and Google group you’re in and sends invitations to every member of every group!

What’s happened to the word “friend”?  Accepting an invitation allows me to read an all-too-brief profile – perhaps with a picture – perhaps only a picture.  Do I know enough about you to consider you a friend?

Does anyone think he’s getting more and more friends through “MyFace”?  I’d welcome thoughts on this.

I’d also welcome new friends.  If, after reading my blog, you think you would like to get to know me better, go to the contact page on my website and use it to tell me something about yourself.  Here are three questions for a starter:

  • What has been the most fulfilling experience of your life?
  • What do you want most in life?
  • What did you find in my blog that motivated you to write to me?

You could also answer these questions in a reply to this posting – which that would make your answers public.

If you contact me either through my website or through this blog, I’ll consider that you’ve made a first step toward becoming a friend.

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