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« I heard someone boast to me that they made 500 friends in one day on Facebook.
I have lived 86 years and I don’t have 500 friends. When he says ‘friend’ and I say ‘friend’ we don’t mean the same thing. We have different kind of friends.
When I was young I never heard the phrase ‘network’. I heard of human bonds, communities. What is the difference between community and ‘network?’ Community precedes you. You are born into a community.
Unlike community, network is made and maintained, kept alive by two different activities. One is connecting, the other is disconnecting.
And I think the attractiveness of the new type of friendship, this Facebook type of friendship I call it, is precisely in that. It is so easy to disconnect. It’s easy to connect, to make friends, but the greatest attraction is the facility of disconnecting.
Just imagine if you have not online friendship, not online connection, not online sharing, but off-line connection. Real connection. Face to face. Body to body. Eye to eye. Then breaking the relationship is always a very traumatic event. You have to find excuses, you have to explain, you have to lie very often. Even then you don’t feel safe because the partner will say : ‘you have no right… you are a swine… you are pig’, and so on.
On the internet it’s so easy, you just press delete and that’s it. Instead of 500 friends you have 499. It’s only a temporary irritant. Tomorrow you will have another 500.
That undermines human bonds. »
Illustration: ©Fronteiras do Pensamento 2011.