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Friendship In Facebook: Is It Possible?

Over the last years, there has been some discussion about the quality of friendship on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook. Hence the importance of analysing the meaning of the word. Michael Austin, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Eastern Kentucky University, has related this topic with Aristotle´s concept of the term “friendship”.

Aristotle claims that there are three types of friendship:

  1. Friendship based on utility.
  2. Friendship based on pleasure.
  3. Friendship based on virtue.

Mr. Austin concludes: “we can have friendships based on utility and pleasure via Facebook, but I´m skeptical about friends based on virtue. In this kind of friendship, contact is required, and this is difficult to accomplish via status updates”.

You can find more on this topic in his blog at Psychology Today.

I have looked for people with more than a thousand Facebook friends with conections to our subject and it seems to me that Mr. Austin is right. It looks like the majority of their friends are based on pleasure and/or utility.

Here is the list:

  • Adriana Bustamante (4668 friends) Founder of CDsitenet: communication services for enterprises. She created a blog where she writes about online marketing and networking .
  • Alejandro de Pedro (2783 friends) General manger of Open Ideas, a technological consultancy, focused on innovation, open source and social web.
  • Alejandro Moreno (2349 friends) Founder and associate of Piensablogs (Online marketing and online contents management).
  • Ángel María Herrera (3186 friends) Founder of several enterprises related to Internet communication (Medios y redes…).
  • Bárbara Yuste (only 902 friends) Journalist and manager of Medios&Redes from abc.es.

Just in case, Don Rittner, reputed author and historian from Shenectady County (NY), offers us some tips to avoid fake friends on Facebook. Check his blog at Times Union.

On balance then, I dare conclude that people shouldn´t expect to find true friendship through social networks. However, I think Facebook is a powerful tool for prefessional purposes and very useful for interaction in the social sphere.

References:

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