Monday, February 11, 2008

I'm Your Friend...Now What?

When I was in high school I had many friends. In the nostalgia of my memory I was a gregarious kid, as non-judgemental as a teenager is capable of being; I had friends in many different cliques though I wasn't a member of those cliques myself.

My high school years have long since passed; now there are many ways of encountering and developing friendships with others. One way of developing "friendships" is online through social networking sites like Blog Catalog.

Friendships online are completely unlike friendships in the real world; don't get me wrong, online friendships can be very close but you're not in the presence of the other person which makes them not quite as good. Blog Catalog and social networking sites are a somewhat different animal because ANYBODY can decide you're their friend.

I frequently receive emails in my inbox that are from Blog Catalog that go so something like this: Shazzbat has added you as a friend! Who is Shazzbat? Well, Shazzbat is someone who saw my icon on the front page of Blog Catalog and decided to make me a friend. It is very possible that Shazzbat has never even read my blog. I visit my new friend, Shazzbat's, blog and right on the home page are a slew of racial jokes and pictures; my attention is drawn to the African-American lynch jokes....hmm...I don't think Shazzbat is any friend of mine!

The above is an actual experience though Shazzbats's name was changed. Shazzbat is probably not someone who'd be interested in being friends with me in real life, but on Blog Catalog any old body can tag you as their friend. I don't think I like that, I still like the idea of choosing my own friends.