I, like many, use social media to keep connected with my friends. I use Facebook as a quick glance into their lives, as well as an excellent reminder of their birthday. I use messenger to check in with groups of friends about upcoming gatherings, or important notifications. All of this used to take place in the old days by letters, telephone, or in person. Just this past week, I had to explain the use of pen pal in a story that the kids read because they had no idea what a pen pal was.

When friends graduate, move, and start families people can drift apart.  I feel grateful to the advances in social media that allow me to continue to be a daily part of my friend’s lives. In Gretchen Rubin’s blog Eight Tips for Maintaining Friendships, she talks about the obstacle of time and how social media can keep us connected. She also mentions we have all kinds of friends.

I get a boost of happiness when by friends are happy. Edge wrote about this in Social Networks and Happiness. The article mentions emotional contagion, and they wonder how emotions spread over social media. I found it interesting that they spoke of motions not just being individual, but a collective phenomenon. They more you smile, they say, the more centrally located you are in the network.

There can be however a downside. I find it hard to get away from technology and just relax. Often, in my house, we are all in separate rooms on our devices. I’m sure we have all witnessed people out together physically, but how much are they a part of the moment when they all have their phones out? In the article Social Media, Pretend Friends, and the Lie of False Intimacy, Jay Baer speaks about considering the people we connect with online as friends, but how much do we really know about them? And do these new connections mean we are not deepening old friendships?

How do you use social media to maintain, renew, or start new friendships?


About Christine Lashinski

Hello, Although I love to travel, my home has always remained in northern Minnesota where I grew up. I love the trees, the water and the seasons. Mosquitoes? Not so much. My parents encouraged reading (they don’t remember doing so, but it’s a pretty major addiction. Someone must be responsible). I’ve read to my husband on road trips (is there anything better than a captive audience?). I've been accused of ruining movies by dissecting them for plot elements. All I can say is its true, and I’m sorry. Christine Lashinski

2 thoughts on “Friends

  1. Interesting post Christine. I guess in a world where our friendships are measured by our FaceBook Friends or how often we are retweeted it’s hard to think about real friends with real intimacy in our lives. I’m a dinosaur in that respect there are somethings that social media is just off limit for. My dating activities for example. And yet I have no concerns in sharing stories of being bullied horribly as a child. Its somewhat freeing to share but there is a downside. I like to get to know folks by talking to them and engaging with them. Not sure I can truly laugh with my FB peeps.

  2. You make a great point. Since social media came late in my life I see it more as keeping up with everyone’s day but more on the bright and shiny events leaving the deep and dark for personal together time. I had not thought of this before, but I treat social media like I did going to my grandma’s house. My husband always thought it was weird that we keep so many secrets by only talking about the pleasant stuff. And I can only truly laugh with my FB peeps if I have first laughed with them in person.

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