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TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Friend Farming – What Social Life Has Become

SOCIAL networking sites have revolutionised living in this Century. No longer do we just simply catch up with good friends for likeminded activities on weekends and with long-lost buddies once every blue moon, we do so now at 1.43am, when we struggle to sleep. We even make globalisation the medium as we ‘friend farm,’ finding friends at the next mouse click. It’s fascinating how small this large world is becoming.

The newish art of friend farming is common to Facebook users, for instance. Recently I noted some of my Facebook friends with friend lists in the thousands receiving growth to their lists of up to ten and twenty per day. I thought, ‘Wow, they’re popular!’

But, it wasn’t until I realised that they’re becoming friends with the many liberal people who are more than willing to share (and trust) people with a modicum of personal detail in the midst of business or ministry networking—a kind of social zoo is what we have here. It’s fascinating.

Of course, there are many that might disagree, citing reasons of privacy or the impression that social networking is going too far, or even having the impression that people are bending the intent of the system. It’s interesting that Twitter goes viral much more readily that does Facebook or LinkedIn—both of which have moralistic “standards” regarding whether you actually know the person you’re contacting. But, ingenuity has outstripped the original intent and people are finding likeminded people to hook up with across streets, countries and oceans.

Friend farming is a fascinating process almost like speed-dating. The most important thing we can do is “harvest” as friends only those we feel we could trust, and those who’re likeminded. There’s little point in doing it otherwise.

Friend farming is about networking and possibilities; not for all friend-farmers, sure, but seemingly for most. It’s about a way of broadcasting with sincerity the things you get into. Of course, I made a decision a long time back that I would use Facebook in only a limited capacity for personal reasons. Facebook email and commenting on the statuses of the people I know are but two ways to do this. I post generally only that which is suitable for “public” digestion.

Whatever your view might be on friend farming I think it’s both positive and here to stay. Perhaps it’s our response to the concept that we fear within ourselves. Possibly we fear social networking sites could replace the need for real contact, and at this stage that’s a threat. But this threat could morph and generate an even more dynamic level of contact.

There’s also the concept of becoming friends with people who will not be in the slightest bit interested in us; that’s okay isn’t it? Becoming their friend of itself is not harmful and if they’ll not harm us what harm could it present? And if they do harm the newfound relationship we can resolve that in one or two mouse clicks.

All I can say is I find this social networking one-world we have in our midst’s, so terrifically invigorating. For the first time in the history of humankind we have the very real opportunity to touch people we would otherwise not know.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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