I disagree scientist are correct in stating that most people see a difference between virtual friending and real befriending. Virtual friending was first termed by myspace, which means “to link to” while befriending on the other hand involves getting to know someone. You don’t necessarily have a deep connection with people online as you would if you were face to face. The inability to read body language online is a cause for misunderstandings. People often do not distinguish virtual friending and befriending as separate entities. According to a study of 800 young people conducted by researchers at the University of California many people used new media just to hang out. In my opinion people don’t realize that there is a difference but see it as no difference weather they have friends online or offline if they fill the void of loneliness. This coincides with the passage “online friendships are but reflections of the close intimacy of embodied exchange” (Vernon pg113). It is very important to know that there is a distinction between the two. Virtual friending can adversely effect your real befriending. It impacts the way you communicate and act. You can easily become unaware of how others feel based off wording through a chatroom that can make others feel like you are not really there for them when the most need you. This is why online friendships don’t stand up to real befriending’s because there are so many gaps created on an emotional level. This is turn could ruin friendships and leave you or them in a place you were trying to avoid in the first place, loneliness.
Vernon, M. (2010). The meaning of friendship. Basingstoke (England): Palgrave Macmillan.