NaBloPoMo has challenged me to free write today (no prompt). I plan to share my thoughts on an article I recently read about the number of close confidants Americans have.
Guess what? Having hundreds of friends is a farce (Facebook comes to mind). Here are the facts according to a recent study by Matthew Brashears, assistant professor of sociology at Cornell University. Of more than 2,000 adults ages 18 and older, 48 percent of participants listed one name, 18 percent listed two, and roughly 29 percent listed more than two names for close friends. Participants had 2.03 confidantes on average, and over 4 percent of participants didn’t list any names.
This information makes me wonder a lot about social media sites like Facebook. I have so many questions. Who is kidding who with those high friend numbers? Does confiding openly about your personal life to acquaintances from kindergarten through college and all places of employment matter if only two people actually read what you’re logging? Does a social media site protect you from the honest opinions of those closest to you? Is Facebook like a confessional where there are only blessings and no judgement? If you are judged, do judgements come from people whose opinion doesn’t really matter to you? Wouldn’t your closest friends know what’s going on in your life without reading your Facebook wall? If so, why bother with that nonsense?
I could go on with this list of questions for days. I don’t understand the need for Facebook and other social media tools as vehicles for bonding. I only have a few close friends with whom I meet to share ideas, feelings, and personal events. Why would I want to exchange face to face interaction for a few paragraphs a week on Facebook? And if I did have something important to share and a meeting could not be arranged, wouldn’t an email be better than me sharing a blurb on Facebook?
I’m normal! According to this article I’m quite average when it comes to the number of my close friendships. I never thought I could be so happy being so ordinary. I’m not a disgrace to the human race because I don’t have thousands of friends. What a relief!
But you’re a blogger and you have a Twitter account, you say. Yes I am a blogger and a tweeter, but guess what? I do both of these activities for myself; I like sharing information (e.g., knitting/crochet patterns, writing tips, recipes, etc.). I don’t view either as tools to stay in touch with friends or make new ones (though I have “virtually met” some very nice people). My friends know I blog and tweet, but my online activity is considered a hobby. They would never think of contacting through my blog or Twitter account.
My blog and Twitter account are creative outlets. I like getting useful information from the world wide web and I hope I’m sharing useful information. I have no interest in learning if high school Susie has just waxed her upper lip or learning that work colleague Bob trained his dog how to fetch a can of beer. That’s not the kind of information I care to know, and I certainly won’t share that type of information here. My blog is not a diary. News of a personal nature is what I share with my 2.03 friends over a cup of coffee or a few glasses of wine.