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Thursday, June 2, 2011


         I have discussed the importance of social networks in many of my previous blog entries. Dr. Roiter has an excellent chapter on this topic that includes the importance of our social domains. He states “…people who recognize us transform us from a face in the crowd of billions into a unique known person.  That is the magic of friends and family.”
            He then goes on to discuss the importance of social support on health and longevity. Following that he explains the nature of social networks,  “ Social networks take three broad forms…family (including marriage), friendships, and the team. The stronger these positive relationships the greater the personal benefits.” Among other things he talks about the responsibility of friendships and the benefit of friends
            Moving closer to the topic I wish to discuss further is “Moving Beyond Work.” in which he states “I know that many of us do not find this post work approach to friendship easy.”  Then he discusses the topic I wish to expand upon “The Internet Social Network.”
            He raises an interesting point.  “Many people wonder how Internet social networking will play out. Will it tear the fabric of society by having people holed up in front of their glowing computer screens, hardly ever interacting face to face?  Will this lack of contact reduce the caring and empathy that grow with direct contact? It may.”
            This is something I have thought a lot about. For example, on this blogspot this entry will be my 100th.  I have no “friends” and while very few people have ever bothered to reply to my comments. I guess the thing that is satisfying to me is number of places around the world where people have read my blog. To name just a few, they go everywhere from Canada and the USA to Iran, Australia, India and South Africa. It would be nice to hear people’s opinions but just the fact that my blog is being visited is joyful.
            On Facebook, where people can actually sign up as friends I have none; although my brothers sometimes contact me and I can go to their Facebook sites. So what does “friends” mean?
            One of my favorite fiction authors is Terry Brooks. In one of his books[i] he gives, from my point of view one of the best descriptions of friendship. 

“Friendship is a thing sensed inwardly as much a thing pledged openly.  One feels friendship and becomes bound by it.  It was this that drew Whisper to me and gained me his loyalty. I loved him and he loved me, and each of us sensed that in the other. I have sensed that with you as well.  We are to be friends, all of us, and if we are to be friends, then we must share both good and bad in our friendship. Your needs become mine.”
            Dr. Roiter goes on to say “Email has replaced a good deal of phone contact while increasing the overall amount of contacts. This is true for my relationship with my brothers in the states. But I knew them and loved them before the Internet. And he also discusses “chat rooms, personal websites, and now blogs.’ And then there is eharmony, which goes beyond Chat rooms toward deeper interpersonal relationships.
            So It comes down to this, What Is “friendship’ that is it different from “acquaintance?” 

[i]  Brooks, Terry (1985) The Wishsong Sharana , Ballentine Books

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