Face-to-Face Across Screens

OK, so now both Google and Facebook have Skype functionality. Great news! Or is it? Zuckerberg makes an interesting comment “[t]his type of thing is only possible because of the social infrastructure that already exists” but can the same not be said of FB? Does Facebook not also exist only because the social infrastructure exists? Or does anyone actually believe the social networking site precedes the relationships? Sure, you can ‘friend’ lots more people than you would otherwise meet face to face but is this sociality? Is there a sense of commitment, reciprocation and obligation in exchanges between FB friends? Or are there perhaps several levels of friendships within FB as there is in life? The whole ‘friend’ concept seems to have come full circle from face-to-face and time-and-space defiant friendships to face-to-face across time and space.

I usually distinguish between friends and acquaintances. Friends are friends, they are people I like and enjoy spending time with. I take an interest in their trials and triumphs and I offer them my trust, loyalty and suppport. Acquaintances are people I recognise and know something of. I may enjoy spending time with them occasionally but I am not invested in their personal lives and expect no more than common courtesy from them. Old fashioned views perhaps, I don’t know.