Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

Strange; I've done the opposite. I engage with Facebook now more than ever.

I'm 38 years old. I plan events with friends, I get to see their children grow up, new jobs, comfort them when they lose a parent..

There's never been a platform so emotionally engaging. It makes me feel in sync with their lives, even when I haven't seen them in a while.

It's such an amazing platform.




I think Facebook is the ultimate realization of the American concept of "friendship" (maybe not your specific case) contrasted to the German version of friendship. In Germany, to call someone your friend, it is a great honor, it means something, it is an investment. Here in the states, "everyone is friends!" Yet it feels so superficial. Now we can just check in on them a couple times a day on their posts without the huge investment. It's perfectly American.

Also I am sad to see your thought is being down-voted.


Strength of friendships in Germany can't be granular?

Aren't there just people that have been good to you in the present or past, that you want to see succeed, that you want to root for? Those are the perfect candidates for Facebook.


I'm generalizing something fierce here, but generally speaking, friendship in Germanic countries is highly non-linear. Either you're friends or you're not. My theory is that it's about geographical mobility. When people move around a lot a sliding scale of friendship makes sense. When you and everyone around you are mostly stationary you know who you want to spend time with and everyone else is just noise. Doesn't really explain the Irish, I think, though I don't know much about their geographical mobility.


The Irish aren't Germanic. There's your explanation.


Well, there's nothing magic about Germanicness. If the Irish move about as much as Germans, then that can't be the (sole) explanation for the difference in niceness to strangers.


German language (or more precisely, idiom) maintains distinct meanings for "mein Freund" versus "Freund von mir," the former being far more intimate.


Acquaintances? FOAFs? Former colleagues? A DJ you used to go see 20 years ago? In the US, all of these people get swept under the rug of "friends" in the FB era, and it's in this way that they are less granular if "friend" can mean just about anybody you've ever come across.


> In the US, all of these people get swept under the rug of "friends" in the FB era, and it's in this way that they are less granular if "friend" can mean just about anybody you've ever come across.

"FaceBook friend" maps roughly to "Anyone I have had some form of contact with and either don't actively hate, who says things I'm interested in hearing, or who I haven't gotten around to deleting". It's a completely distinct concept from "friend", in my mind. A FaceBook friend could be more accurately be described as a "contact", the way that I usually see it used.

I know some people who are deep in the FB Kool-Aid, or who label all acquaintances as "friends", but that doesn't accurately describe most of the people around me.


This was none other more apparent in college

See someone from your hallway in your dorm in the library you never spoke to before? Oh dude that's my boy from my dorm right there!

See a classmate out at the bar that you only asked for homework a few times? "Sup dude! It's your boy from chem class!"

And hundreds of other examples similar to this.


I'm from Romania and we kind of do the same thing as they do.

The people you mention are not friends, they're people you know ("cunoștințe" in Romanian). We might casually call them "friends" occasionally but most people only truly call "friends" a handful of people.


This is completely untrue. What you are describing is how Facebook has colloquialized the word "friend." The American concept of actual friendship is no different than the German or the Japanese one. A "true friend" is a pretty universal concept. Nobody mistakes a "FB only friend" for a true friend. There's no reason for you to bash Americans. Frankly you are unlikely to make meaningful connections with any other nationality when you're making cultural superiority judgements like that.


I didn't read GPs comment as passing judgement, just that the American concept seemed different to what they are familiar with. The word "friend" is overloaded here, we just don't have a problem with that because lots of words are overloaded.


Especially on FB, it's like pokemon - gotta catch 'em all!


> I get to see their children grow up, new jobs, comfort them when they lose a parent..

Do you though? I mean do you really get to see all those things? Having been through the loss of a parent and the arrival a new baby in the past couple of years I can tell you from this end of things there is no value in any online "presence" of friends and family.

The people who come to meet our new baby, who brought food, and who attended the funeral are the ones that actually impacted our lives and improved us and themselves. A DM or post in Instagram meant nothing - it feels more like the person is signaling human emotions than engaging in them.


So after the death of a parent, an old, close childhood friend that lives far away sends you a message saying "your mom was a second mother to me" and it means nothing...?

It means something to me. So I continue to use the service.


Those people sent letters and sympathy cards - actual handwritten ones! And they called too - actually spoke on the telephone. I know, it's a little wacky, but it works.


It's the quality of the thought, not the medium for which it's conveyed.


Maybe he means that the person who said "your mom was a second mother" also came to the funeral?


Apples and Oranges. Do you live 1000s of miles away from friends and family so that your baseline is never seeing the people rather than seeing them in person. If you are starting from the former and building up the ways to stay in touch a platform like Facebook can be a nice tool. Modern communications tools make living away from Family much better than anytime in history with email, unmetered long distance phone, video conferencing, chat, sites like facebook, etc.


Nice try NSA!

Facebook is the creepiest site ever. It's way more than the Stasi could have ever hoped for.

On top of that, the interface makes my brain hurt.


You're addicted, you just don't know it yet.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: