So we get friendship without the trouble of having to put effort into the relationships. It’s friendship rendered convenient through technology, and the convenience to a degree denatures the original significance—isn’t the substance of relationships ultimately anchored in the effort we feel ourselves putting in? (Or am I simply mystifying the ideal of working at things?)
I'm in partial agreement; the effort that one puts into maintaining friendships is a pretty good indicator of their success, but I don't think that the site itself has that much to do with how we're all "bowling alone" as a society. I recently received a new alumni directory from my college and, using that information, have reconnected with a couple of people on their Facebook pages! Maybe it's a conspiracy. If you want to reestablish and maintain relationships, Facebook offers a one-stop hub for doing just that. On the other hand, if you just want to play games and send people weird cyber-stuffed animals then Face is also the place. Facebook can't control how you use it and also to a large extent can't control how much of yourself (pics, personal info) is on your page.
I have just under 300 Facebook friends, and probably regularly communicate with less than 10% of them through the site. They tend to be the ones I see regularly, we communicate back and forth about plans and common interests. There is a also a segment of friends that I know I went to grade school with but honestly can't remember. They contacted me and I'm happy to know them. But the vast majority are like the minister in Michigan whom I went to an Indigo Girls concert with in college or the actress in Charleston who once received a Richard Bausch novel from me as a birthday gift. Not to mention the large contingent of actors I've worked with who have moved on to other cities. I didn't mean this post to turn into a hymn to Facebook, but merely to jab at the hysteria the site seems to excite. But I will say that in ways large and small my friends both cyber and real are a part of me, and I'm enriched by knowing that I can if I so choose have easy access to them. The rest is up to me.
(Oh, and every one of my friends who has expressed views similar to those in the post I linked to has eventually wound up getting a page. Hi guys!)