Thursday, June 21, 2012

Better social life with facebook and "weak" friends

There are two kinds of relationship, "deep" long terms etc. etc. and low maintenance "weak" realtionships of which we hold many.

Are "weak" relationships less useful? Most of us do not like these much, while some people with huge networks seem to like it very much. 

One may say that "weak" relationships Suffer from "friction" problems. It takes time to start a conversation, to get the basic update on what is up etc. 
(vs. the theory that only "deep" relationships are useful. A widespread belief, I am questionaing here)

Friction may decrease significantly with online tools like facebook etc. 

If this theory is true, then having more "shallow" facebook friends rather than a few "deep" ones, may simply be that people like it more. And the internet changed the math by reducing friction a lot. 

There is an interesting study, where resachers found that kids need very little to feel friends. Just to hang together.
It blows many myths on the "reality" of friendships, but so be it.

May facebook improve our social lives, indeed?


Brian Hewes said...

Maybe, "weak" friends are easier as the don't require any kind of commitment, like the demands of tribe, company or family. I don't expect any of these weak friends to have my back when I need them. I can float in and out and always keep looking for new friends. I do this all the time given the nature of my work (publishing) and moving around so much. And when I do expect a person to have my back that person has moved into some other realm of relationship.

I just finished reading Bruce Hood's The Self Illusion and I can see how just hanging makes a kid feel like he is friends with the people around him.

Weak friends in my case make for a better social life. If only because I can treat the relationship like I treat a consumer good. And as long as I don't miscategorize the friendship I come out ahead.

Jazi Zilber said...

Yes, yes

Many of us live in the world where the concept of life long commitment is not practical. Indeed, it makes much sense to have friendships that are compatible with our way of life.

Alas, maybe our nature is better adapted for that?

I believe that is a major relationship issue. (reality and rationality pushing for short term etc. while nature is not veyr happy with it?)

We should do things that are useful. not follow stupid notions when they do not work for us