Tomorrow, Nora will interview danah boyd and William Deresiewicz about the nature of friendship online -- whether social networking has changed what we mean when we say 'friend,' and how digital tools like Facebook and MySpace ask us to define, categorize, and list our friends.
danah is a Social Media Researcher at Microsoft Research, a Fellow at the Berkman Center, and the lead author of Friendship, a chapter in Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out: Kids Living and Learning with New Media. In it, danah writes:
By and large, teens use social media to do what they have been doing--socialize with friends, negotiate peer groups, flirt, share stories, and simply hang out. At the same time, networked publics provide opportunities for always-on access to peer communication, new kinds of authoring of public identities, public display of connectedness, and access to information about others. In the sections to follow, we describe how these dynamics reinforce existing friendship patterns as well as constitute new kinds of social arrangements.
William Deresiewicz is a writer, and his essay Faux Friendship was recently published in The Chronicle of Higher Education. William sees a darker side of online friendship:
Friendship is devolving, in other words, from a relationship to a feeling--from something people share to something each of us hugs privately to ourselves in the loneliness of our electronic caves, rearranging the tokens of connection like a lonely child playing with dolls.
What do you think? Is our idea of friendship changing?
If you have a question for danah or William, we'd love to hear it. Leave your questions below, and we'll do our best to include some in the interview.