A person’s friendships used to be judged based on human interaction (i.e. how much time do they spend together?); now, with the rise of social networking, a relationship, whether it is romantic or simply platonic, is judged based on how the relationship appears on social networking sites. For instance, we assume that individuals, who have been tagged in multiple photos together, as well as ‘checked in’ at multiple places together, are close friends. It is these social networking sites that generate other’s ideas about a person and their relationship with others.
In Tammy Nelson’s article, “Is ‘Unfollowing’ someone on Twitter the new Dis?” she explores how social networking affects the way in which we build and maintain relationships – both romantic and platonic. When we break up, our relationship status goes from “in a relationship” to “single;” it comes up on people’s newsfeed and everyone who is friends with you and your ex knows your relationship is over. With regards to platonic relationships, when you are upset with a friend, you can ‘de-friend’ them on social networking sites. However, in real life, there is no way for you to have a ‘de-friend’ button. As Nelson stated, we would never walk up to a person and say “I am de-friending you” instead we fade them out of our lives. In this new outlet, we are able to let go of our anger in a passive-aggressive fashion.
If unfollowing someone (like Rihanna did with Chris Brown) is the new dis, how are our social interactions, in the real world, changing? After we ‘de-friend’ someone, what happens when you run into them in person? Do you act friendly or non-chalant? In my opinion, I understand that de-friending individuals is common. Usually, I ‘de-friend’ people who I’ve only met a couple of times; however, even if I get in a fight with one of my friends, I wouldn’t ‘de-friend’ them. I think dealing with a problem via the internet is very passive–aggressive and doesn’t solve anything. And even though, we live in an era that is consumed with living one’s life through the internet, this is not a healthy way of dealing with problems. It is important for people, especially kids of my generation, to realize that the internet shouldn’t be the most important part of their life – either should social networking; instead, real life social interaction needs to be more important than their online counterparts.