Friendship and the Internet
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A few months ago I packed up my entire life into two suitcases and boarded a plane to move to New York. I was incredibly excited but also devastated to leave my friends behind. The one thing that made me feel better was knowing that we would still be connected - I could follow what was going on in their lives through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and chat to them as we would normally, through instant messaging services. No need to wait weeks for letters or to rush through expensive telephone calls.
Of course the Internet and mobile phones are not a replacement for real face-to-face interaction. But the reality is that many of us have family or friends who have moved far away - or we are the ones who have moved. The Internet and social media offer us the opportunity to maintain the friendships and networks which we have built up and which give us comfort and joy.
I recently came across this interactive map from Facebook which shows you the connections which people using Facebook from a particular country make with people from other countries. While moving my mouse from country to country on the map, I spent a lot of time thinking about what these connections represent - are they friends who have moved to study abroad? Are they parents seeking better economic opportunities? Or are they families separated by political turmoil?You can check out the map here: http://www.facebookstories.com/stories/1574/