so earlier today, I posted about my discussion with my girlfriend about online friendships and relationships but to be honest, that felt very rushed, so I wanted to follow up in more detail.
To quickly recap, my girlfriend and I got into a heated discussion last night about online friendships and relationships and she believes that they serve no authentic purpose.
I took her position hard because I personally have met many wonderful people online and I even wrote a college paper on the power of online communities and social capital.
As an avider supporter of Soccer, Basketball, and Hockey, my online communities on my social media platforms have given me much joy and informative/intriguing conversations over the last few years and I see much value to them as it can be a reprieve from this much chaotic world we live in.
During the most difficult part of my life, my abusive relationship and pregnancy and baby loss, I often found solace in Twitter and Instagram, as it became a happy place, in a time of much darkness and uncertainty. I fully acknowledge and understand my girlfriend’s point about the value of talking to someone you never will meet before but I think that doesn’t mean a conversation between two people online doesn’t have any less meaning to those two people involved.
It is topics like these where I often reflect on a book I read many years ago, “Bowling Alone” by Robert Putnam. While he wrote the book in the early 2000’s, the topic of social capital still seems prevalent when talking about social media. Social Capital is the idea of shared networks. Putnam believed that their was a decline in social capital because more Americans are watching tv and therefore, less civic engagement and more time alone. However, I think, social media intensifies Social Capital. I personally have met many basketball and soccer communities on my online platforms. I would even argue that my online communities and networks have increased my social capital.
While I completely respect my girlfriends opinion, I see so much value to social media. I have made many friends, that maybe I won’t ever meet in person, that have changed my life in so many wonderful ways that I wouldn’t change that for anything. I won’t challenge anyone who sees things differently than I, but I will say, everyone sees value differently.
Thank you guys, much love and happy Sunday.