A few days ago, Maya Angelou accepted my request to “Friend” her on Facebook. I requested her friendship when I first starting using Facebook (about a year ago) and I must admit, I regret the action. A year later and so much wiser about social media, the email that arrived declaring that Maya is now my friend not only fell flat but was a bit embarrassing. I don’t even remember asking her to be my friend, and why did it take so darn long for her to respond? Granted, she’s busy, and I realize it wasn’t Maya herself who friended me. But why do we need to have so many friends in social media? Will it really lead to a more enriched life?
So, let’s not forget who our “real friends” are and the power of face-to-face communication. Surely, if Maya saw me in person she wouldn’t recognize her “friend.” How many friends do we all now have who we’d walk right by at a conference or in the coffee shop? And not because we’re rude friends, but because so many of our friends online are really strangers in reality.
— Diane Schwartz