Friends are a realistic constant that not only come next to family but in today’s world have replaced family, in some cases, as the number one shoulder one would select to cry on. The transformation has been swift and ruthless and we are reminded of the importance by the soap opera “Friends” telecasted and re-telecasted for years now in India. It is noteworthy to mention how friends become family and stand up for one another which is somewhat new in the Indian context.
But are we ready for this friend concept that is invading our lives and do we need to be more specific when we use the word friend? Our real lives have more or less been replaced by our surreal lives which are not projected to an audience but have taken over the life we are used to. Now even though many would question who or what is real, the fact remains that we have been shifted to a virtual world. This world is very much like the world we live in save for a few problems of identity and privacy.
So the friends culture which is burning it’s sole with protracted re-runs can make a virtual entry and skate board into the visions of online netizens. But what is it that we come across today? Orkut and facebook along with other social networking sites are facilitating the sending of hundreds of thousands of friend’s requests to each other. I get a minimum of three almost everyday. People I don’t know, people I can’t even see a picture of, people who don’t write a message as to who they are (suggesting I might know them), but still asking me to accept them as their friend. What do I do? Do I go on an accepting spree?, do I say no?, do I make sure I know the person?
In my case I am almost forced into accepting requests because of the nature of the job I am into. But I can’t help but think of others who have to accept requests and then realise that it could be their teacher, or parent, or a stalker wishing to intrude into their lives. It’s good to make friends and have a lot of friends as long as one knows who the friend is!