Sunday, August 15, 2010

Friends on Fakebook

Oh, the Sunday New York Times has again motivated me to write an entry for my journal. This time I will take a remark out of context. The article in today's Style section is titled "The Language of Fakebook" by Kate Roiphe, a teacher at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at NYU. I certainly invite my readers to see the entire article, but here is the passage that I would like to discuss:

"Being “friends” on Facebook is more of a fantasy or imitation or shadow of friendship than the traditional real thing. Friendship on Facebook bears about the same relation to friendship in life, as being run over by a car in a cartoon resembles being run over by a car in life."............. Do you know anything at all about your Facebook friends?"

In July 2009 I did an analysis of my Facebook friends:

New York Librarians - 37 8.4%
New Jersey Librarians - 23 5.3 %
NJIT Colleagues - 48 11.0%
American Chemical Society Colleagues - 30 6.8%
Other Librarians - 21 4.8%
Radio enthusiasts - 99 22.6%
Family - 9 2.0%
NJIT Students - 110 25.1%
People from my past - 14 3.2%
Other Slutskys 13 0.2%
Bob Dylan Enthusiasts 1 0.2%
Others - 31 7.1%

I did not analyze how many of them I have actually met. I did a major edit of my friends list shortly after that.

I agree that you really don't know a person until you have met him/her face to face. I have had some very nice online discussions with people whom I have never met. I should make a new edit of my friends list. I have found out some interesting information about some of my Facebook friends:
  • Valerie is a cat person
  • Mary Ellen just had a baby - Congratulations
  • Pete who runs is a big Mets fan
  • Richard and Mark M. who are librarians are also big Bob Dylan fans
  • Flora just left her position at Vassar to move to Alaska - best wishes Flora

I just had a conversation with my NJIT colleague Ann who does not want to join Facebook. She feels that this friending and unfriending issue just creates misunderstandings.

I will close with one of my infamous quotes:

"There are more important things in this world than Facebook."

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