What would Pooh do?
This week I’ve been thinking about the nature of online friendship. For while there are many things that digital hasn’t really changed, I wonder if friendship is something it has.
"Friendship," said Christopher Robin, "is a very comforting thing to have."
Take Winnie-the-Pooh. Would Christopher Robin have been quite so sure about the eternal verities of friendship had Hundred-Acre Wood been furnished with decent broadband, social networking and a new iPhone 5?
Maintaining friendships online can be a stressful business, leading to all kinds of obsessive behaviour.
People are starting to talk about Facebook addiction using the same language as when referring to an addiction to booze or fags. More comically, a blogger recently hired a woman to slap him every time he goes on Facebook.
This sounds ridiculous, but with 48 per cent of users checking Facebook as soon as they get up, according to one survey, is it really so outlandish?
“You can't stay in your corner of the Forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes.” – Winnie-the-Pooh
Friendship in Hundred-Acre Wood was real-world friendship. Piglet came round for breakfast; Piglet stayed all day; friendship was born. Awwwww.
Yet a survey released this week suggests that the average teenager has 72 friends on Facebook whom they’ve never met.
Most of the adults I know have various social network friends whom they haven’t seen for years – they only really remain friends online so that they can spy on the latest child/boyfriend/divorce.
We tend to think about people sharing our stuff with people they know well and respect, but, in today's world, is this the correct assumption?
“How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” - Piglet
Fortunately, Piglet didn’t exist in a world where people will cull their mates for a burger. Barely a day goes by without another blog proclaiming the liberating nature of cutting back on your online friends.
We think a lot about ways to endear our fans to their networks, but perhaps we should also be providing more useful ways for them to distinguish the friend wheat from the friend chaff?
“Nobody can be uncheered with a balloon.” – Winnie-the-Pooh.
OK. Maybe some things don’t change.