Are social networking relationships sustainable or situational?
I’ve seen a lot of skepticism expressed about how genuine relationships are, that are formed on social networking sites. This doesn’t surprise me, as this is an objection, which is raised anytime new technology comes out. People made those same objections when the internet first appeared and when chat rooms were used, and they even made those same objections with telephones, when they first appeared.
Any new technology is going to raise such questions, because people are usually set in the ways they interact with others, and as such prize the traditional methods of interaction over the new ways of interaction. and believe it or not, there is nothing wrong with that, because there is value in using a phone to talk with someone, or meet in-person with somebody.
But I think relationships developed on social networking sites are just as sustainable as relationships developed through other mediums of communication. What makes them sustainable is not the technology, but the effort each person puts into the relationship. In other words, a relationships is only as sustainable as the effort each person puts into making it sustainable.
I have people on my twitter that I comment to on a regular basis and as a result I’ve formed some connections with those people. I will admit that in some cases, having an in-person component has helped, which makes sense, because I open up a lot more interaction that way, but even without such interaction I can still get a sense of the person and develop a relationship with him/her.
I think it’s important to acknowledge the limitations of social media, but also be open to the possibilities it presents us, when it comes to creating relationships. In the end, it really is more about human choice and less about technology limitations that make or break a relationship.