I made my first friend or best friend in first class. I remember we were group of four friends who always used to hang out with each other. Eating lunch together, playing together, sitting together. It was fun. For us, the definition of friendship was being together. I remember that once we decided that during summer vacations, we will send letters to each other. We all were in fourth standard. Yes, and we did send letters to each other in our broken English and Hindi handwriting. I talked with my friend on phone for the first time in fifth or sixth standard.
Today, when I look back I think I had great friends who like me were committed to that single definition of friendship. We might not be able to meet today for our own reservations in our life but, we know that bond which we made as children will always be there.
I joined Facebook in 2008.
Since then, I have made so many friends. Correction. Facebook friends. This is a new kind of friendship. For this kind of friendship, you are not supposed to meet in reality. Even if you see people in real, you cannot greet them. However, on Facebook, you can like her/his status, comment on them, like his/her photos and claim to be best friends. This propaganda of friendship is not just for the world but also for your benefit. But it is also true that we want to make ourselves worth of being a friend on the portal. After all Facebook is all about friendship.
I have made myself wonder on my own hesitation and pure reservation in meeting or greeting a Facebook friend. They have so many times slide past me without recognising me while I try to connect that Facebook profile pic to the real person in flesh and blood. I really wonder how this happens?
I daily get so many requests of friendship and to be very frank I do not understand why do they want to be my friend in the first place. I think even now I have more than 150 requests pending and double that no might be the number of friends I have. I know I will never meet them, may be I don’t want to meet them. Then, why do we make these friends? What exactly is the truth behind these virtual friendships ? Are they merely for a propaganda of friendship? Are they just show-off or the world has truly manifested the elements of friendship in how much you are friends with your friend on Facebook ?
Whatever it is. Facebook has actually changed the definition of friendship. There are four kinds of friendship which have been defined/ created by Facebook. First, there are friends whom you never want to meet ; Second, friends who do not want to meet you ever ; third, friends who are “friends with benefits” who can be used in need and last, but not the least your real friends whom you keep on meeting but need to prove that on Facebook by tagging, posting pictures etc.
I don’t think I enjoy Facebook that much but may be in this lonely world devoid of real friends as they make themselves available only on Facebook, we feel worthy. May be we feel desired by so many people. May be this is a new public sphere which let’s us create our ideologies and ideas in which friends can pitch in and participate without losing their time.
May be it is just an escape from the real friendship of the real world !