Humanbeings are socially active, and they cannot live alienated to thedaily events in the world. By interacting, individuals getinformation on new methods of doing things. The number of people onecan interact with is subject to the scope covered a given platform.Association can be local, regional or even international. Gone arethe days when distance acted as the primary limit to communicationand consequent friendship formation. Today, people have acquaintancesfrom all over the world. As such, it becomes easy to propagatemessages of hatred to a broad group of people. Racists take advantageof the digital friendship to spread hate messages that target toundermine the minority. Actually, several students are victims ofracial discrimination throughout the world because the digital hasturned the world into a global village. However, unlike in the past,there is less physical contact between friends and most have nevermet physically. The new trend is an effective strategy to fightracism because one can present a false virtual identity to his onlinefriends. As such, social media platform unites humans to accept eachother’s personality and backgrounds instead of inducing lonelinessto the users.
Recently,students have had to cope with widespread racism in their learninginstitutions. For example, Berett (2015) explores the ordeal thestudents at Oklahoma University experience. He, specifically, usesthe recent incident about the racist video that went viral at theinstitution. The respondents are all black students who claim thatthe white students discriminated against them. The event raises thedebate whether Oklahoma University has not done enough to shield theminority students and staff from the harassment the majoritypropagates against them. However, he concludes that the students, thesystem, and the administration are not liable for the problems thatface the minority population because the students display the hatredof the entire community. The passengers in the video clip cheer theanti-racist slogans in support of the minority students` effort toeliminate the stigma.
Marche(2012) argues that victims of racism have resolved to use digitalfriendship. The system is beneficial because it provides analternative platform for individuals to create friendship. He uses anexample of Yvette Vickers, who solely interacted with virtualfriends. She had no live contacts such as such as an immediate socialring, religious friends or children. Probably, she was uncomfortablewith the company of her real life friends.
Criticsassociate the widespread use of the social media with the growingdistance between human beings. For instance, individuals in differentcontinents can interact as if they are immediate neighbors viaFacebook. The chat messages come in real time. As such, the necessityto meet in person reduces substantially.
Similarly,racism that prevails in numerous American universities is likely tomake several students embrace digital friendship, which is in turndetrimental to the development of healthy relationships. According toSavage, the colleague who discovered that Vickers had passed on, shediscovered that her phone bills, letters and even connections to thesocial media that she focused on establishment of long-termconnections with international friends. Consequently, they had a highprobability that she did not meet the bunch of friends she hadcreated on her final days (Amichai, Kingsbury & Schneider, 2013).
Amichai,Kingsbury and Schneider (2013) argue that the technology isredefining friendship. Many young people prefer online friendshipbecause it is trivial compared to real life interaction. As a result,students who are vulnerable to molestation are likely to embracedigital friendships. “In fact, it could be argued that Facebookspecifically gratifies the narcissistic individual’s need to engagein self-promoting and superficial behavior” (Marche 2006). Sinceracists make the minority individuals to feel inferior, virtualfriends place photoshopped pictures of the people they wish to be.According to a recent study, Facebook users are more vulnerable tonarcissism practice than their colleagues, who do not use theservice.
Unfortunately,the technology makes humans lonely without their knowledge. Forinstance, one spends a lot of time interacting creating a falsepersonal image in order to impress the others. The disadvantage withsuch behaviors is that one needs live friends at some point, just incase he or she needs the assistance of some kind. If Vickers hadestablished long-term friendships, she might have had someone to saveher immediately he or she could not reach her on social mediaplatforms or telephone. A situation where a person passes on takesmore than a year before somebody can realize that she has died musthave lived a lonely life. Besides, the outcome emphasizes theinsignificance of
Nevertheless,Chayka (2015) contends that digital friendship forms the base of “inreal life” comradeship. He proves he narrates about his experienceas a blogger and the way he gained popularity online. Although hefinally meets his colleagues in real life, he is astonished that oneof the virtual friends using a strange handle, “chickenfucker”,was a good person. He realizes that actual people are in fact fun tointeract with than the online friends. Therefore, digital the socialmedia platforms enhance one’s loneliness despite having numerousfriends (Schwanda, Zhao & Cosley, 2012). Consequently, thestrategy is not an adequate solution to address racism since thevirtual friends attempt to make themselves become appear people whomthey are not.
Severalfactors facilitate digital acquaintance, and they have their roots intechnological innovation. The world is shrinking into a village dueto the ability of people to probe about things happening in aroundthe globe at the push of a key. Technology innovators in worldleading innovation hubs have developed various means of communicationthat fits the occupations in the 21st century. First, due to thechanging trends in work patterns and personal relationships, mostpeople spend the biggest portion of the day attending to theirresponsibilities. Movement for social interaction has, therefore,declined substantially. The number of times people travel purposelyto meet their kin without any concrete reasons have also become veryfew while in some cases it can be costly (Schwanda et al., 2012).Additionally, students cannot travel when the schools are open. Forthis reason, a means of communication takes care of the situation isa necessary. People can communicate from their places of work throughthe digital platforms. Literary friends can share any information,and although there is no social contact, the users feel contentedabout the progress of their associates’ life (Cai, 2015).
Secondly,there is increased mobility both locally and internationally mostlyin the line of duty. When people meet new people with practicalideas, the chances of another contact are minimal especially forone-time conferences. For this reason, it is efficient to get eachother’s contacts and share ideas online without meeting againphysically. Some of these relationships become beneficial in the longrun especially when there is mentoring going on between an entrantand an experienced professional. Internet mentorship eliminatescommon barriers such as racism and ethnicity that is common in reallife. On the same note, the social contact can bring people fromdifferent regions together for purposes other than the ones definedduring the first meeting. For example, marriages resulting fromdigital friendships are becoming common by the day. People fromdifferent races or backgrounds may find it hard to strike a rapportthe first time they meet. Luckily, the online platform offers them asuitable foundation to exchange information and know each otherbetter. Furthermore, campaigns against specific issues are easy toaddress using online platforms. For instance, the anti-racism videofrom Oklahoma University reached numerous internet friends as theyjust need to tag or share it on their walls for others to see it(Cai, 2015).
Theother reason driving people to embrace online socialization andfriendship is the availability of supporting structures in theenvironment. There must be an efficient channel to facilitate theexchange of information. The social platform is fast and effectivecompared to other formal means of communicating through writtenmedia. Besides, the minorities often face a lot of résistance whendealing with majority groups. The smartphones support severalapplications that facilitate online communication. An individual canshare and circulate photos and typed messages among friends. Inaddition to this, most workplaces especially in the developed worldhave free internet connection for the employees. Most of them findthe opportunity to communicate with people in and outside theorganization with an aim of establishing a lasting friendship.Actually, digital friendship offers extremely high flexibility thatkills the racism barriers. In some cases, an individual can interactwith numerous friends without experiencing racist remarks becausethey do not know each other (Froding & Peterson, 2012).
Digitalfriendship is a current trend in the social sphere. It comes withvast advantages when utilized effectively. On the contrary, it canlead to a lot of suffering and confusion when used by exploitativepeople such as racists. When approached from the right angle, it isone of the century’s innovations that can transform the societythrough sharing of ideas and innovation. The various merits thataccompany it includes
First,it reduces the need to travel from one place to another to meetfriends physically. Through social arenas, communication takes placebetween people who are miles apart. Friends can share vitalinformation requiring immediate action, and they can mobilizethemselves towards a certain course such as the fight againstdiscrimination of the minority. People can also request informationfrom their friends living in other countries even when they havenever met. As such, it eliminates the xenophobic effects thatpropagate racism and ethnic hatred. People gain insight of thechallenges and opportunities surrounding the inhabitants of anothercountry by sharing information about different ways of life andsurroundings (Froding & Peterson, 2012). Through this, investorscan take advantage of high opportunity areas basing their knowledgeon the information deserved from their digital friends. A continuouscommunication and information sharing develop a sense of trust andconfidence between the parties. Through agreements, it is possible totransact business online without having to travel to the area ofoperation. Importers and exporters exhibit this practice, and theassociation becomes mutually beneficial to the parties involved. Asdiscussed above, it is easy to spot the kind of group one wants toassociate with because of the presence of particular interest groups(Amichai et al., 2013).
Secondly,it is easy to acquire friends from literary any place provided theyare online. Traditionally, people were racists because they have notlearned to appreciate or interact with friends from differentbackgrounds. Social media platforms provide the resources such peopleneed to learn about world cultures without going to new areas. Unlikethe association developed from social contacts, the amity has abigger scope due to the reduced need for mobility from one place toanother. It, therefore, promotes a culture of cultural diversity andappreciation of the other people’s way of life (Grieve, Indian,Witteveen, Tolan & Marrington, 2013). As the world shrinks inspace, the best way to eradicate the prejudices that people havetowards each other is through establishing a suitable environment forthem to share their backgrounds and way of life.
However,as observed by Cai (2015) friendship cannot develop without variousvalues like trust, confidence and loyalty, most of which lack indigital friendship. According to him, a real social associationbecomes concrete when people get to each other closely, and thiscannot happen on the online platform. The values of trust andconfidence are reserves of the people we have met and shared ourexperiences with them. A digital friend is short of this privilege.Andy form of socialization, therefore, follows the most general modeas each is suspicious of the other (Amichai et al., 2013). Althoughmost of the online acquaintances prove to be worth and focused,especially for the special groups with common interests, most peopleapproach friends with a lot of caution. Without the basis, the merecommunication and sharing of information is not fit to go to the namefriendship (Cai, 2015).
Secondly,people have various interests when they approach people in an effortto establish a relationship. Most people will withdraw any input whentheir interests become futile. For this reason, online friendship mayoften pass as deceptive. According to Cai (2015) a true friend knowshis partner`s weaknesses, and strengths and he /she can correct theclose associate whenever in the wrong. For this to take place, theremust be unlimited contact that has based on the benefits one gets ineither the short or long-term. has a deprivationof a physical, social contact due to the distance between the pair.Although several opportunities can present themselves when friendsmeet briefly to catch up on issues surrounding their relationship,time often limits them to pour out their hearts to each other.Usually, such meetings have reservations for general talk or businessorientations. Therefore, social media gives a total substitution ofthe factors that necessitate a genuine and close association (Grieveet al., 2013).
Inconclusion, it takes the time to declare one as a friend. It alsotakes the time to learn the behaviors first and develop a likingtowards their characteristics. The best form of friendship developsfrom a continuous interaction engagement in similar activities. Forhumans to form close associations, despite being in differentoccupations, there must be either a formal or an informal activitythat brings them together. Through online socialization, peopledevelop a friendship before knowing each other. For example, it onlytakes the pressing of a key to accept someone as a friend or requesthim or her to accept a similar offer. It is common to find peoplewith thousands of friends in Facebook, but this form of alliance isdevoid of the closeness that ensures the reception of each other’sfeelings (Grieve et al., 2013). The masses of people do not qualifyto be friends at any cost. The general or trending issues in thesociety limits the kind of information shared among friends. Peoplemay, however, develop an interest in several people and increase thefrequency of communication, and they become well acquainted with eachother. The result of such close association is a better understandingof one another’s culture, which is vital to eliminatemisunderstandings associated with personal discrepancies such asrace.
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Chayka,K. (2015) Let’sReally Be FriendsAdefense of online intimacy. The Republic. Retrieved from http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930/
Froding,B., & Peterson, M. (2012). Why virtual friendship is no genuinefriendship. Ethicsand information technology,14(3),201-207.
Grieve,R., Indian, M., Witteveen, K., Tolan, G. A., & Marrington, J.(2013). Face-to-face or Facebook: Can social connectedness be derivedonline?. Computersin Human Behavior,29(3),604-609.
Marche,S. (2012). IsFacebook Making Us Lonely? The Atlantic. Retrieved fromhttp://www.newrepublic.com/article/121183/your-internet-friends-are-real-defense-online-intimacy
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