"Faux Friendship" by William Deresiewicz
Deresiewicz's essay describes the process of inevitable changes in modern relationships due to technical progress, and more specifically, due to the internet and social networks. The author underlines the idea, that social networking sites are "just the latest stages of a long attenuation" of the friendship's nature and traditional human values in this respect. It's amazing, how the internet has changed the face of communication in the past two decades. Websites such as Facebook and MySpace – the two most popular social networking sites - allow users to create profiles containing various personal information and images. These social networks allow people to create and maintain relationships with current friends and to make new friends based on similar interests.
On one side, social networks offer benefits such as reconnection with lost "real" friends, or easy informational exchange with existing friends. Another advantage is the convenience and speed of messaging with long-distance contacts. But on the other hand, online relationships generally contain weaker ties than traditional offline ("real") relationships, the traditional "face-to-face" communication and body language are missing in online networks. Such a network, as Facebook, offers visual juxtaposition, which "creates the mirage of emotional proximity". Modern friendship starts to miss the actual community structure, being replaced by "sense" of community. Also, the feeling of intimacy shared with close friends is being substituted by "broadcasting our stream of consciousness", addressing "ourselves not to a circle, but to a cloud..." Nowadays friendship is loosing its individual character, the human unique "face". Deresiewicz describes online communication, saying "posting information is like pornography, a slick, impersonal exhibition", so that it takes much less effort, time and emotional contribution, comparing to the true...
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