Letter to the Editor

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Becky Ebben

After reading Kiara Blake-Knight’s article about fake online friends, “Facebook defeats its own purpose,” in last week’s Argus, I felt compelled to write a response.

According to Blake-Knight, “Facebook does not and never will create an opportunity to maintain real friendships.” This is something that I have found to be completely false.

In our modern society, an enormous amount of social interactions now occur online. People spend more time at their computers than actually socializing out and about, resulting in more friendships that begin over the Internet.

Blake-Knight claims these friendships are shallow, consisting of “answering questions about each other in online games, LOLing on statuses, or deleting each other,” instead of legitimate interactions.

I beg to differ. It is entirely possible to discover people on Facebook who share your interests and use that as a basis to develop an “in real life” relationship.

Blake-Knight complains that “many of the friends a person has online seem to stay exclusively on Facebook.” This claim assumes online interactions are meaningless, and it needlessly discourages online interactions.

There is already a stigma many have about meeting people online. This is inflated by shows like Dateline creating the impression that everyone on the Internet is a child molester or a deranged murderer. According to these shows, talking to strangers online is dangerous.

While it is important to teach our children there are bad people in the world, we should also consider that, without first talking to strangers, it is impossible to make new friends. And if a real connection forms between two people online, then it is possible for their relationship move out of that realm and become something “real.”

With a little extra effort, Facebook relationships aren’t difficult to maintain. Instead of adding people and then ignoring them, send them a friendly message every once in a while. Instead of writing off online relationships as meaningless, give them meaning yourself.

Facebook doesn’t create meaningless relationships. People do.

At the end of her article, Blake-Knight urges people to “stay in reality when it comes to making friends”. I urge you to do the opposite.

I urge you to embrace what socialization is becoming and use social networking sites for what they were created for: to develop meaningful relationships that extend beyond the Internet.

Add me on Facebook. Let’s be friends.