It's funny to me when I hear a conversation between two FB junkies - "I have 300 friends on Facebook....Really? Why so few? I have 678" and on and on. How can someone possibly have 678 real friends? It's not possible if you think about what makes a real friend.
Orrin Woodward, in his book Resolved - 13 Resolutions for LIFE, includes a chapter about friendship (Chapter 7). He lists the 8 principles of true friendship:
1. True friends form a shared insight, interest, or taste enjoying the common bond uniting them.
2. True friends accept one another, loving each other despite their human imperfections.
3. True friends approve of one another, protecting each other's weaknesses while enhancing each other's strengths.
4. True friends appreciate one another, encouraging, serving, and believing in one another's gifts and talents.
5. True friends listen with empathy, learning the hopes, dreams, fears, and struggles of each other.
6. True friends celebrate one another's success, proud of each other's accomplishments without a hint of envy.
7. True friends are trustworthy, maintaining all confidences shared with unimpeachable honour and self-respect, knowing that gossip separates the best of friends.
8. True friends are loyal, respecting and defending one another's character, reputation and motives, as far as truth allows, while addressing any issues or concerns between them promptly and privately, ensuring misunderstandings never fester.
I admit I have accounts with FB, Linkedin, and Twitter. I use them to possibly begin relationships, not to build - building relationships takes more than social media. It takes work. My friend Claude Hamilton, a co-founder of the LIFE business once said to me..."Phil, all the skills and one-liners you used to get Catherine to date you is not what got Catherine to accept your marriage proposal (so true - it was my devilish good looks, charm and the rubber boots I wore on my feet!). And what it takes to get married is certainly not what it takes to stay married".
It's a totally different game. Just like getting to be the champion is different than staying the champ.
Facebook and social media "relationships" are weak and have little value - having 978 friends on social media is unlikely to yield meaningful long-lasting relationships. Think about the relationship you have with your spouse and the time spent with him/her to develop a long-lasting relationship based on trust. Conversely, you can create "relationships" with people around the world via social media in the matter of a few clicks. These a low-quality connection, that develop into nothing more than thin, surface-level relationships.
True relationships are a two-way street. I invest in you - you invest in me. For example, if I didn't invest in my wife or daughter, eventually we would have a thin relationship of little quality or value. Same as social media - there's no investment, so there's no value.
People invest copious amounts of time playing Farmville or other social media entertainment with "their communities". This is what is called an investment in low quality content. Like a low-end vehicle fixed with low-end parts, communities built solely through social media won't last long, have value or go very far.
I believe through creating stronger, more meaningful relationships we will be better. This can only be done be reprogramming how we think, with different information.
Getting the right information from people who have personally developed trusting long- lasting relationships - and helped others do the same - is key.