We are slowly reaching an era when we have more e-friends than actual friends. FaceBook (FB) profiles with more than 500 friends is now commonplace and it is almost sure that none of them have actually even seen more than 25% of them. The same scenario is catching up in the world of Whatsapp and other similar networks. Our world is slowly emerging into a new kind of friendship era when the whole concept of friendship needs a new definition. Unlike olden days, when it took years to build up a friendship, it now takes only a few clicks to establish one. But the whole arrangement seems to be alive and clicking.
The significant casualty in e-friendships is the lack of intimacy, sincerity and camaraderie which were considered essential in a normal friendship. But that is no more needed anyway. If it is possible to help another one more by sending an SMS or an email than be physically present at his or her side, the requirements on friendship have clearly changed. In this electronic age of super speed physical presence is not of much significance and more can done at lightning speed through the internet and smart phones. Perhaps e-friendship is a natural development in keeping with the fast pace of a society more and more dependent on technology.
The real consequences of e-friendships surpassing conventional ones will only unfold in the years to come. Older generations are slowly getting used to unseen friends and friendships. Younger generations are already used to it and they seem to be comfortable with such arrangements of convenience. The ‘convenience’ of having friends and unfriending them at convenience is an attractive arrangement for many. The prevalent degeneration of quality of relationships in all walks of life has affected friendships too. Change is the only aspect of life that is constant and newer times call for newer types of relationships. We can only hope that e-friends in the future will do better than friends in the past.