Present your viewpoints about whether scientists are correct in stating that most people do see differences between virtual friending and real befriending. Is this an important distinction?
I do agree with scientists that people do see the differences between virtual friending and real befriending. Vernon noted that when people make connections with others online it is not the same as making a personal connection face to face (p. 107). I believe this to be true as a stranger you meet through a screen will not give you the complete idea of who they are as if you were to meet them in person. I use Facebook to stay connected to friends and family, but also use it to network with people of shared interests due to the many groups Facebook has to offer. I often get friend requests from people I have mutual friends with and some are people from high school, others are from work. I probably will not accept their request due to not knowing these people personally and also no real benefit from adding them. The distinction between friending and befriending is important because it allows others to understand that personal connections and online connections have their own separate benefits. Virtual befriending gives us access to a world we would on a regular basis never have access too if the internet and technology was never invented.
Vernon, M. (2010). The Meaning of Friendship. New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.
After reviewing the Stanford piece, how do online friendships stand up, ethically speaking?
Online friendships can be just as important as face to face friendships. Often as we get older we tend to disconnect ourselves from people we once hung around on a day to day basis. Going from adolescence to adulthood we start to see the dwindling of friendships. Facebook among many other social networks allow us to stay in contact with people we once had a close relationship with from adolescence. We use these platforms to have casual conversations or even send a quick congratulatory message on a marriage proposal. From the Stanford reading in the Mutual Caring section, the author states that regardless of closeness friends still show a form of caring and sympathy towards one another and although as friends one may not see them on a day to day basis it is still that connection being able to witness another’s happiness which is allowed by online interactions. One example, a former teammate from high school just proposed to his girlfriend, and he posted a status and photo of his engagement, we may not talk like we once did when we were kids but it still made me happy to see him doing well. I sent him a congratulation message in a response to his status and thus we formed a small conversation as if time hasn’t gotten in between us. Online connections keeps us involved with our friends and family as we carry on with our own lives.
Bennet, Helm. (2013). “Friendship.” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/friendship/