March 30, 2014
Friendship Created by Facebook
Have you ever had an experience when you and your friend sat down at a restaurant and just looked down at your phones checking Facebook the entire time? Facebook is the most popular social network and it has improved so much that people today tend to rely on them more than necessary. Checking updates, alerts, instant messages are all very convenient and people definitely use them quite often. Now we have reached the level where we can communicate through Facebook only.
Every Facebook users should be alert right now because we are looking at a recent issued problem: a huge lack of communication that could hurt relationships that we built. Elizabeth Bernstein, a columnist from Wall Street Journal, says in her article, “If we’re not careful, our online interactions can hurt our real-life relationships”(Bernstein). Communication is the most important thing in building new relationships and even keeping existing relationships. Friendship is one of the most valued relationships that people have. With the trend that we have today, is Facebook going to help us maintain or build friendships? Probably not. Facebook is not a great tool for keeping friendships healthy because of lack of conversation, limited expressions, and misunderstandings.
Excessive use of Facebook can blind people, making them think that they are “actually” interacting with someone. Neeraj Vedwan is a professor of anthropology at Montclair State University. In his paper he says, “Interpersonal communication via social media, in the absence of body language and other nonverbal cues, makes it difficult to decipher the motives and reactions of the parties involved. Therefore the communication can often lack the depth and richness of face-to-face interaction.” (Vedwan). Face-to-face interaction is the most proper way of engaging in any of the relationships. People can bring out themselves more and they are more honest in these conversations.
Also, face-to-face conversations can involve a large group of people, unlike online chatting rooms. Although Online chats are able to have a large group of people in the same place, it’s going to be unorganized and confusing since people don’t know who is going to write next. Besides online chats require two tasks: writing and reading. It takes time and it is inefficient. On the other hand, face-to-face conversations are very efficient. People look at each other and communicate. Conversations are fluent and ready in face-to-face conversations.
Take a look at Losing Friends on Facebook. It is so easy to lose someone online and it’s even hard to take it back and make it up to that person. All it takes is typing on a keyboard. Typing lacks emotion, especially compared to real-life conversations with our voices. We could type in the right words, the exact way we want to say them, but there could be so many different ways to interpret them, which could lead to misunderstandings.
Misunderstandings are the start of most conflicts in friendships. It is something that could create a huge distance between two people. It takes time and effort to fix the damage created from misunderstanding. According to Bernstein, most of the time, it takes a sincere real conversation to change one’s mind. Facebook message is not going to fix the damage. There is a story that I heard and it’s my friend’s actual experience. He was trying to make up to his girlfriend, so he decided to leave her a message through Facebook. All he got was more anger from her because she didn’t think he was honest and sincere enough.
As you can see, some people are just not persuaded through writings. Some people need the truth from people’s eyes and words coming from people’s mouths that actually mean something. The most important part is that even in this world where we are addicted to social media like Facebook, we should not use an excessive amount of Facebook to interact with our friends and make the effort to rewind ourselves and have old-fashioned way of communication: face-to-face conversation.
Al-Khaddam, Hamza Khalil. “Impact of Social Networks on Interpersonal Communication of the Students University College Irbid Girls: Facebook as a Model.” Montreal:Canadian Research & Development Center of Sciences and Cultures, 2013. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
Bernstein, Elizabeth. “Bonds / On Relationships: How Facebook Ruins Friendships.” New York: Dow Jones & Comany Inc, 2009. Web. 9 July. 2012.
Vedwan, Neeraj. “Does Facebook make us happy?” Anthropology Now. 2013. 5.2. Print.