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October 12, 2011 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2011-10-12

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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0

IW 1w

8BWednesday, October 12 2011 // The Statement
PERSONALSTATEMENT

THE WORTH OF ONLINE FRIENDSHIP
S IT TERRIBLE THAT I'D LIKE TO
FRIEND YOU IN REAL LIFE FIRST?
BY TODD NEEDLE

they
night
they'
to. P1
Ho
frien
to? I
that
been
frien

Like most people of our gen-
eration, I'm an avid user of
social media. I "tweet" and
I "like" as much as anyone else.
In its relatively short time on the
Internet, Facebook has quickly
grown to control nearly every
social facet of our lives. How
many times have you been invited
to an event on Facebook? Do you
call your friends on their birth-
days, or do you just write on their
walls?
About a week ago, I received
a text from a friend from high
school: "Did you unfollow me on
Twitter?!" I had to laugh because
I had in fact "unfollowed" her,
as she had fallen victim to over-
tweeting. "Yes," I replied, to
which she quickly responded,
"I was checking how many fol-
lowers I had this morning and
- noticed that I had one less than
yesterday. Of course it would be
you."
Of course it would be me? Is
there some unwritten rule that

states I have to follow my high chances anyb
school friends on Twitter? Do time to do it
they have to be friends on Face- the chances t
book? I decided to stop follow- do the same t
ing her on Twitter so that I could Just like
clear space on my Twitter feed for "unfriend" ar
significant feeds like @Huffing-
tonPost or @UMGDI (of which "Please d
I'm an avid fan - keep doing what
you're doing). Twitter tells you to if we're n
"follow your interests," and what
somebody is eating for lunch or friends."
what the weather is like outside
isn't one of mine. one on Faceb
Unfortunately, our friendship, far harder to
or the semblance of a friendship person - it s
that I had been trying to main- to sever a f
tain, quickly deteriorated after However, tod
that exchange of text messages - it just as pai
not even a confrontational phone morning and
call or video chat! I don't see any Friends list h
reason to follow my old friend tiniest bit. H
on Twitter or be her Facebook taken on tha
friend if she's going to count her ing? Is that
followers and friends every day. come to? Pl
Some might compare that to lin- there is a gro
ing up your friends against a wall ple so utterl:
and doing a headcount, but the Facebook an

body would take the who',
are slim; so too are By
hat somebody would to hE
thing digitally. frien
that, you can met I
.nd "unfollow" some- seen
don't be offended
0 longer Facebook

sit at thei
counting
re electr
ease?
Dw many
ids do yo
asked m
afternoon
combing,
ids to de
s in and w
the end o
ave delete
d that Ii
before inI
in more

ir computers every name?" was all I could manage to
how many people ask. I figured it was the first step
onically connected toward actually getting to know
this person I had never actu-
of your Facebook ally spoken to. I'm still relatively
ou actually speak unsure about how to go about
yself this question handling such an uncomfortable
n and have since situation.
through my list of As a society, we should focus
'termine, literally, more on the interpersonal rela-
ho's out. tionships we can foster through
fthis month, I hope actual, in person social interac-
ed every Facebook tion than on digital friendships. I
either have never fully condone attending an event
person or have not or a party you are invited to via
than two years. Facebook (though I still prefer a
Now, please don't phone call or a paper invitation)
be offended if if it means you will ultimately be
we're no longer spending time with friends that
Facebook friends. night.
We can still be So, if we're Facebook friends,
real friends. Just I will assume I know you. If you
talk to me in per- aspire to be my Facebook friend
in the future, I look forward to
ard why-did-you- meeting you and getting to know
''m-so-hurt issue you. But if we've never met in per-
y digital confronta- son before and/or I don't know
rend, a person I had who you are, please wait until
o before (I had only we're friends in real life before
e tossed around in we take the next step and become
sation) approached friends online too. I know it's a
why I had rejected big step, but it'll just have to do.
quest. Admittedly, Foster real friendships, people.
ressed to find an They last longer. I promise.

ook and Twitter. It's
unfriend someone in
hould hurt far more
riendship in person.
day some people find
nful to wake up one
d discover that their
as shrunken just the
ave our online lives
at much more mean-
what this world has
ease, don't tell me
wing number of peo-
y engrossed in their,
d Twitter lives that

son first.
The awkw
unfollow-me-I
wasn't my only
tion. Last wee
never spoken t
heard his nam
casual convers
me and asked
his friend re
I was hard-p
appropriate re
expected to h
decision, let al
"Uh ... I'm

sponse. I had never
have to revisit my
one in person.
sorry, what's your

- Todd Needle is an LSA
sophomore and a photographer
at The Michigan Daily.

I

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