Writer and historian Henry Brooks Adams once wrote, “One friend in a lifetime is much, two are many, three are hardly possible. Friendship needs a certain parallelism of life, a community of thought, a rivalry of aim.”
I wonder what Adams, were he alive today, would have to say about MySpace?
Sure, it’s a “social networking” site, the point being to “network”—form social relationships with other people. But how meaningful can a relationship with another person be, when one is, say, one out of 245? I’m fairly distrustful of anybody who has more than a few dozen “friends” on their MySpace account. Is “friend” a “best friend since childhood” or “someone they once greeted at a party”? Naturally one can expect more of the latter than the former, but I also see a lot of people with MySpace “friends” with whom they’ve never so much as spoken or written a word.
True, I can’t “know” that for a fact, but it stands to reason because I get “friend requests” from people whom I don’t know, who have never before made any attempt to communicate with me. Moreover, on the odd occasion where I’ve accepted them into my list of friends, they’ve never followed up with any further communication… So what was the point? It renders the whole social networking—much less the term “friend”—completely trivial and meaningless. People do it, I suppose, because it requires less effort than introducing themselves via an E-mail message, but what does it say about them, that typing a few words (instead of clicking the mouse a couple times) is too much effort?