Friendship over the years has found novel avenues, dismissing the requisite of physical presence through the fora of internet, in the form of virtual friendship. The virtual world of internet provides the medium for all the interactions. Web facilitates these virtual friends in connecting without any hassle, as people feel less subdued when expressing their emotions online, than venting out the same in person. As the social barriers are dispelled in such communications, the bond of friendship is strengthened.
Social networking websites have played a pivotal role in fuelling virtual friendships. People may create a separate persona of themselves online, which maybe a complete opposite of their real personalities. On a similar note, people may know nothing about the true identities of their virtual friends, and they can only have imaginary caricatures of these virtual beings. They join groups based on their publicly expressed interests and hobbies, and their bonding in these virtual neighborhoods are based on their personal publicly declared statements of themselves. Since there is no way to substantiate the claims one makes about his personality in the virtual world, these virtual friendships thus have potential risks that ought to be taken care of. The minimum that one can do is be cautious about the data being shared, set limits on the nature and extent of confidential information that can be divulged and investigate about the virtual friend with whom one shall share their time, as there is a cost involved.
Since social networking websites are a nurturing ground for these virtual friendships, the term has become quite beauracrized in the virtual world. A burgeoning number of friends is what matters, therefore, it cannot be asserted that one may know anything about his friend, who was included in the list for being a mere acquaintance. Commercial terms like managing and ranking friends have pervaded, which may defeat the purpose of friendship in the first place.
Virtual friendship is so convenient that it has taken over the traditional brick and mortar friendship. Knowing that connecting to a virtual friend is just at an arm-length’s distance; one can’t bother putting the effort in taking out time from their busy routine for a coffee date with a traditional friend, when the need for friendship is being satiated virtually. Thus, a reality that has surfaced over the years is that the concept of friendship has been altered, which may or may not be a good thing afterall.
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