Hey, look, some links!
- The future of loneliness As we moved our lives online, the internet promised an end to isolation. But can we find real intimacy amid shifting identities and permanent surveillance? (Guardian)
- In Vietnam, Rampant Wildlife Smuggling Prompts Little Concern (New York Times)
- Rory McIlroy Has the Best Swing in Golf How far will it take Northern Ireland’s onetime child prodigy? (New York Times) H/T to my dad for sending this to me.
As someone who has a social life divided by the internet and the physical world, I found the first article to be fascinating, if somewhat ill-informed. I truly believe that friendships you make online are just as real as those you make in person. Actually, I don’t just believe this, I know it. I have several very close friends who I only know through the internet. I’ve met a couple of them in person and I was the bridesmaid in another’s wedding. But there are others who I may never meet, as we live oceans apart. This doesn’t devalue our friendships in any way, shape or form.
I believe the crux of the problem is relying on the idea that followers on social media are the same as tangible friends — the ones you talk to (you may email them every day, or every week, month or even once or twice a year — but they are your friends and not just people you happen to know). I have over 100 followers (each) on twitter, tumblr and on Facebook. I would only consider a handful of these to be actual friends and of those, even fewer who are close friends. If you confuse friendship and followers, then you’re missing two things: the point of social media is not to create a super large group of actual friends and friendships cannot be bound or determined by anything other than the relationship between two people. I feel that the author, at the end of the article, came to realize that it is the quality of the friendships, not the quantity of the ‘friends’ that really matters.