Wednesday, March 04, 2009

How Many Friends?

As if freshers' week wasn't enough, the anxieties of many students are no doubt added to by the who-has-the-most-'friends' competition that is Facebook. This BBC article discusses how many friends one should have - or, perhaps more accurately, one is normally likely to have (further discussion on CT).

I guess from my experience it's reasonably true, although I would note that the internet is changing the nature of friendship. In sixth form I was part of a very close group of about eight and we saw each other almost every day. Since coming to university, I've found it seems more normal to have different friends from different circles (college, department, extra-curricular interests, etc). One advantage of social networking sites is that they enable you to stay in touch with people, even separated by distance. I'm no longer so close to old friends from school, but still talk to several that way and it's good to always have the avenue of communication open and be able to follow news in their lives.

Personally, I'm happy to use facebook fairly indiscriminately - for example, adding people I've only met once at a conference, or perhaps not at all in real life (provided I know them 'virtually'). Obviously this means that many aren't really 'friends' in any but the most extended sense, but networking is important in life (and academia particularly), and I can certainly vouch for the benefits of keeping in touch with people I've met at conferences.

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At 1:23 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'I can certainly vouch for the benefits of keeping in touch with people I've met at conferences.'

Really, any examples?


At 7:16 pm, Blogger Ben said...

When I went to Manchester last September, I was able to stay with a friend (who I'd only actually met once) rather than pay for halls.


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