Most everyone these days uses or knows of the popular social networking site Facebook.
With just a click of a button, Facebook users can friend anyone they choose from co-workers, school friends, to even people they have only met once — or not at all.
Being a daily Facebook user, I will be the first to tell you this site can be very addictive. Not only can you view photos and read the latest updates posted by friends, but you can also gain a deeper insight to their personal lives.
This brings me to my question: How well do you really know your friends?
I played a game recently where each of us in the room was instructed to write down three facts about ourselves on a card. Afterwards, the facts were read aloud by one person and we had to guess who in the group the facts were referring to.
This got me thinking, “How do we know these things about each other? Is it because we spend time together or is it because of sites like Facebook?” While the people we choose to give access to our Facebook profiles may be people we associate with in everyday life, does that mean we truly know them?
With the vast and sometimes excessive information that is posted to profiles, it is very easy for users to learn everything about their friends from background information, activities the person is involved in, to personal interests such as favorite music, movies, and books.
To me, information such as this should be gained by physically interacting with the person and not just reading about them online.
I’m not saying that adding people you barely know to your friend list is bad, but what is your purpose for doing it?
The goal of some is simply to see how many friends they can rack up by adding everyone they have ever met and even those they haven’t. Facebook has many benefits but I worry sometimes that it is corrupting the way we interact with others in real life.
My challenge to you is think before you send or accept that friend request.
If Facebook did not exist, would you really keep up with what that person is doing? Associating with friends online can be fun but if you are not talking to them in person, some could argue that the relationship is only “virtual.”
My advice: if you truly want to know someone, the best way is to actually spend time with that person.