On the surface, it could seem that the way we live is more ‘social’ than ever before. We are often connecting through Facebook, Twitter – tapping each other messages over the internet. Yet what appears to be increasingly the case underlying these behaviours is a ‘superficial sociability’. What does this mean? It means that this is the age of ‘appearing social’, rather than actually being it. Sites such as Facebook and Instagram provide us with ideal opportunity to build up a profile or persona of ourselves that we most want to try.
It is this process of building up profiles and constructing a social identity which can actually compromise friendships. People can be quickly reduced to messages, the ‘chat’ function can be turned off and conversations ignored. This can be frustrating and it is evident that media sites like these are not always the best places to build meaningful friendships.
So what is the solution?
There are gestures of friendships which can hold so much more resonance than a quick internet message:
- Call up a friend in your lunch hour, even if it just to ask them how they are.
- Send letters – personal post is the true affirmation of time spent thinking about another. With a friendly note wrapped up in a cute little pink envelope, this may be all it takes to make someone’s day.
- Suggest meeting up! – Social media should never provide the excuse of not meeting. Seeing friends physically is so much more meaningful and it matters.