searching social networks for the global soul
“Friendship is about letting something happen between two people that’s surprising and new,’’ says Turkle, whereas social networking “gives the illusion of companionship without the demands of intimacy. It’s friendship on demand, when I want it.’’
“Our minds are not designed to allow us to have more than a very limited number of people in our social world. The emotional and psychological investments that a close relationship requires are considerable, and the emotional capital we have available is limited.’’
Dunbar elaborated on that theme in an e-mail from his University of Oxford office. “I don’t think the real nature of friendship has changed as such,’’ he asserted. “The key contrast is between friends (and relations) and acquaintances.’’ Real friends “require time and effort to get to know,’’ he added, in contrast to less intimate relationships that by definition are less demanding to sustain and manage.
Joe Kahn @ The Boston Globe wonders what "friend" means now. I think it's worth noting that both of the quoted professors explicitly point out that they're Boomers and "prefer using the phone to emailing or texting."
I've been arguing for years that the rise of social networking represented a the appearance of a previously impossible global nervous system, the final actuation of interbeing, yada yada yada. The fact that we're all connected now means so much more than that we're all connected: it means who we are as humans has begun to change.
Jonathan Harris totally gets it when he says that if search engines are the global brain and social networks are the global nervous system, his interest is in locating the global soul. Maybe, like the individual soul, it's an imagined bit of ether that represents the very best of ourselves. And maybe, rather than locating it, we have to make it.