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Pretty soon we will all be friends

Dan McDonald
Staff Writer

 

A friend of mine says he has 2,032 friends.

I checked. He’s not lying.

Some of them he said he even knows. A few he’s actually met.

Remember the days when friends were flesh-and-blood buddies we called and hung out with on the weekends?

We shared rides, jokes, beers and fish stories. We played games, built trust and had each other’s back.

And we shared our lives face to face.

Now we do it on Facebook.

“Facebook now has 500 million users. The previous record holder was heroin.”Jimmy Kimmel

That’s pretty funny. But Kimmel’s not too far off. Facebook is addicting.

If you are among the minority who haven’t logged on … you will.

I was “friended” by my 75-year-old parents a while back.

I like Facebook. I don’t have as many friends as “Mr. 2032” and I hardly ever post anything. Not because I don’t have anything to say, I just don’t want everyone knowing my business.

The biggest footprint I leave is pressing the “Like” button once in a while. Just to let my “friends” know I care.

That doesn’t mean I don’t keep track of my “friends’” business. You can’t buy that kind of entertainment.

And it never ceases to amaze me what my “friends” want people to know.

Bob cut his finger slicing a lime for his Corona. … Like!

Don called in sick to go fishing. … Like!

Noticing Don’s boss also liked Don’s status. Like! (Facebook hasn’t come up with the “Priceless” button yet).

What I don’t like are emails telling me my friends are concerned because I haven’t watered my fake crops in one of those Facebook games.

I don’t bother to tell them I logged in one time two years ago, planted a few seeds, bought a couple pigs, got bored and left. … Never to return.

Yet my email gets clogged with friends telling me they want to be my make-believe neighbors on my make-believe farm.

Seriously?

Who would want to live next door to my rotting farm? Good thing Farmville doesn’t have a scratch-and-sniff feature.

Did you realize you can actually spend your real money to buy fake money so you can upgrade your fake farm?

There’s a lot of fake stuff that goes on in Facebook. Even fake news.

Don’t tell the major television networks or newspapers, but more people — including some local high school students — get their news from Facebook than anywhere else.

Did you know rock star Jon Bon Jovi died in December?

Yup. It was all over Facebook. Even some of my trusted friends reported it.

When Bon Jovi found out he was dead, he posted a smiling picture of himself holding a sign that read “Heaven looks a lot like New Jersey.” He posted it on, where else? Facebook. … Like!

But despite its quirks and critics who say social media is ruining the world, I think it’s having the exact opposite effect.

The world is wound socially tighter than it’s ever been.

Do you think the “Arab Spring” would be happening this fast without mass communication on social networks?

The free world is watching the revolutions in real time, sharing information, and applauding the freedom-fighters’ courage with the “Like” button.

At the rate we are going, the entire world will soon be one big friend. We’ll make “Mr. 2032” look like a lonely guy.

Oh, I’m sure there will always be a few al-Qaida, Taliban and IRS guys who will be blocked on Facebook. But the rest of us will be virtual buddies.

Sound crazy? Maybe. But our world is getting smaller.

In the 1960s, social psychologist Stanley Milgram’s “small world experiment” famously tested the idea that any two people in the world are separated by only a small number of intermediate connections. It revealed the surprising structure of social networks.

Basically, the study found that you could write any person’s name on a package. You could hand that package to a friend who knew someone, who knew someone, who knew someone …

The study found that the package would reach the intended person after about five exchanges.

The phenomenon has been called “the six degrees of separation.”

Now, thanks to Facebook and its nearly 1 billion users, that degree of separation is down to 4.7.

It’s true. I learned about it on … ahem … Facebook.

At the rate we are going, it’s just a matter of time until the 4.7 becomes 2 or 3. Maybe in our lifetime.

But in the meantime …

“There’s a new Facebook app that will post a final status update for you after you die. That’s ridiculous. I don’t need someone to change my status when I die. I need them to water my Farmville crops.” —Jimmy Fallon

Like!

 


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