Finding True Friendships Online

Reviewed Jun 8, 2016

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Summary

  • Use various social-networking tools to maximize friendships.
  • Exercise caution.
  • Don’t replace face-to-face communication.

Are you leery of joining a social-networking site such as Facebook? Then you may be interested in the results of a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. The findings suggest that frequent Facebook users are more trusting and less isolated than others. It also showed them to have closer friendships and better social support.

Social networking is nothing new. The idea of meeting friends through other friends has been around for generations. What is relatively new is online networking.

Get closer to new friends, old friends

This can be a scary notion to some, and certain precautions should be taken. For instance, you should not accept a “friend” request from someone you do not know. Also, the more people you add to your social network, the less likely you will be able to keep up with them all. Online social networking should not take the place of face-to-face communication. However, it can be a useful tool in finding and fostering true friendships.

There is a lot more to social-networking sites and Internet forums than just posting a message or your current status. In fact, there are many applications you can use to enhance your friendships. Whether they are new friends or old friends, the tools described in this article can help you get closer.

Instant messaging, video calling

An instant messaging or chat feature allows you to “talk” to your friends in real time. All you do is click on a friend’s name that is shown to be online. A chat window appears and you can then type an instant message to him. This is a great way to send a quick “hello” to someone you talk to often, or to catch up with someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Once he responds, the topics and length of your discussion are endless.

Video calling adds the elements of seeing and speaking to your friends. This requires that both parties have a Web cam and microphone. While the setup takes a little longer, the shared experience can be the next best thing to being there.

Private messaging

Private messaging is almost the same thing as emailing. This can be done at any time. It does not require your friend to be online at that moment. The next time she goes on the social-networking site, she will see she has a message. Depending on her settings, she may also receive a notification in her regular email or on her smartphone. This works well for asking simple questions or relaying information that is not very time-sensitive. If your friend is local, you can even use this feature to set up a future lunch date.

Photo and video sharing

Remember gathering around Grandma’s photo album? Now you can quickly share your photos with family and friends online. It isn’t hard to upload photos to your social-networking page from your PC. You can even post them to a friend’s page. If you want your photos to stay private, you can send them in a message. This is an ideal way for distant family members to keep in touch. You can also share videos, but there are size and length limitations.

Groups

Groups are a way of sharing with people who have a common interest. You can be invited to a group, ask to join a group, or start your own group. Groups can be formed for a number of reasons. You can be from the same high school or hometown. A group can be centered around a certain cause or event. This is an easy method for people of like interests to connect, stay informed, and get to know each other better.

Event invitations

On some social-networking sites, people can invite their friends to upcoming events. Some events are online, such as the premiere release of a new book or recording. Other events occur in the real world. These may include concerts, rallies, or other civic meetings. This is another way online friends can meet together offline.

Some cautions

Common sense and caution should always be used while online. Always think twice before sharing any controversial comments or photos. Check your privacy settings often. Never share your address or other personal information. Keep in mind that anything you do share may be seen by people you don’t know. Even private messages can be read by anyone who has access to the user’s computer. Be wary of the motives of people you don’t know well. Never agree to meet with anyone you do not know.

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: Pew Research Center; "Social networking sites and our lives" by Keith Hampton, Lauren Sessions Goulet, Lee Rainie and Kristen Purcell, http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Technology-and-social-networks.aspx; Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/help; US-CERT Cyber Security Tip ST06-003 – "Staying Safe on Social Network Sites" by Mindi McDowell, http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST06-003

Summary

  • Use various social-networking tools to maximize friendships.
  • Exercise caution.
  • Don’t replace face-to-face communication.

Are you leery of joining a social-networking site such as Facebook? Then you may be interested in the results of a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. The findings suggest that frequent Facebook users are more trusting and less isolated than others. It also showed them to have closer friendships and better social support.

Social networking is nothing new. The idea of meeting friends through other friends has been around for generations. What is relatively new is online networking.

Get closer to new friends, old friends

This can be a scary notion to some, and certain precautions should be taken. For instance, you should not accept a “friend” request from someone you do not know. Also, the more people you add to your social network, the less likely you will be able to keep up with them all. Online social networking should not take the place of face-to-face communication. However, it can be a useful tool in finding and fostering true friendships.

There is a lot more to social-networking sites and Internet forums than just posting a message or your current status. In fact, there are many applications you can use to enhance your friendships. Whether they are new friends or old friends, the tools described in this article can help you get closer.

Instant messaging, video calling

An instant messaging or chat feature allows you to “talk” to your friends in real time. All you do is click on a friend’s name that is shown to be online. A chat window appears and you can then type an instant message to him. This is a great way to send a quick “hello” to someone you talk to often, or to catch up with someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Once he responds, the topics and length of your discussion are endless.

Video calling adds the elements of seeing and speaking to your friends. This requires that both parties have a Web cam and microphone. While the setup takes a little longer, the shared experience can be the next best thing to being there.

Private messaging

Private messaging is almost the same thing as emailing. This can be done at any time. It does not require your friend to be online at that moment. The next time she goes on the social-networking site, she will see she has a message. Depending on her settings, she may also receive a notification in her regular email or on her smartphone. This works well for asking simple questions or relaying information that is not very time-sensitive. If your friend is local, you can even use this feature to set up a future lunch date.

Photo and video sharing

Remember gathering around Grandma’s photo album? Now you can quickly share your photos with family and friends online. It isn’t hard to upload photos to your social-networking page from your PC. You can even post them to a friend’s page. If you want your photos to stay private, you can send them in a message. This is an ideal way for distant family members to keep in touch. You can also share videos, but there are size and length limitations.

Groups

Groups are a way of sharing with people who have a common interest. You can be invited to a group, ask to join a group, or start your own group. Groups can be formed for a number of reasons. You can be from the same high school or hometown. A group can be centered around a certain cause or event. This is an easy method for people of like interests to connect, stay informed, and get to know each other better.

Event invitations

On some social-networking sites, people can invite their friends to upcoming events. Some events are online, such as the premiere release of a new book or recording. Other events occur in the real world. These may include concerts, rallies, or other civic meetings. This is another way online friends can meet together offline.

Some cautions

Common sense and caution should always be used while online. Always think twice before sharing any controversial comments or photos. Check your privacy settings often. Never share your address or other personal information. Keep in mind that anything you do share may be seen by people you don’t know. Even private messages can be read by anyone who has access to the user’s computer. Be wary of the motives of people you don’t know well. Never agree to meet with anyone you do not know.

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: Pew Research Center; "Social networking sites and our lives" by Keith Hampton, Lauren Sessions Goulet, Lee Rainie and Kristen Purcell, http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Technology-and-social-networks.aspx; Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/help; US-CERT Cyber Security Tip ST06-003 – "Staying Safe on Social Network Sites" by Mindi McDowell, http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST06-003

Summary

  • Use various social-networking tools to maximize friendships.
  • Exercise caution.
  • Don’t replace face-to-face communication.

Are you leery of joining a social-networking site such as Facebook? Then you may be interested in the results of a recent survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in Washington, D.C. The findings suggest that frequent Facebook users are more trusting and less isolated than others. It also showed them to have closer friendships and better social support.

Social networking is nothing new. The idea of meeting friends through other friends has been around for generations. What is relatively new is online networking.

Get closer to new friends, old friends

This can be a scary notion to some, and certain precautions should be taken. For instance, you should not accept a “friend” request from someone you do not know. Also, the more people you add to your social network, the less likely you will be able to keep up with them all. Online social networking should not take the place of face-to-face communication. However, it can be a useful tool in finding and fostering true friendships.

There is a lot more to social-networking sites and Internet forums than just posting a message or your current status. In fact, there are many applications you can use to enhance your friendships. Whether they are new friends or old friends, the tools described in this article can help you get closer.

Instant messaging, video calling

An instant messaging or chat feature allows you to “talk” to your friends in real time. All you do is click on a friend’s name that is shown to be online. A chat window appears and you can then type an instant message to him. This is a great way to send a quick “hello” to someone you talk to often, or to catch up with someone you haven’t talked to in a while. Once he responds, the topics and length of your discussion are endless.

Video calling adds the elements of seeing and speaking to your friends. This requires that both parties have a Web cam and microphone. While the setup takes a little longer, the shared experience can be the next best thing to being there.

Private messaging

Private messaging is almost the same thing as emailing. This can be done at any time. It does not require your friend to be online at that moment. The next time she goes on the social-networking site, she will see she has a message. Depending on her settings, she may also receive a notification in her regular email or on her smartphone. This works well for asking simple questions or relaying information that is not very time-sensitive. If your friend is local, you can even use this feature to set up a future lunch date.

Photo and video sharing

Remember gathering around Grandma’s photo album? Now you can quickly share your photos with family and friends online. It isn’t hard to upload photos to your social-networking page from your PC. You can even post them to a friend’s page. If you want your photos to stay private, you can send them in a message. This is an ideal way for distant family members to keep in touch. You can also share videos, but there are size and length limitations.

Groups

Groups are a way of sharing with people who have a common interest. You can be invited to a group, ask to join a group, or start your own group. Groups can be formed for a number of reasons. You can be from the same high school or hometown. A group can be centered around a certain cause or event. This is an easy method for people of like interests to connect, stay informed, and get to know each other better.

Event invitations

On some social-networking sites, people can invite their friends to upcoming events. Some events are online, such as the premiere release of a new book or recording. Other events occur in the real world. These may include concerts, rallies, or other civic meetings. This is another way online friends can meet together offline.

Some cautions

Common sense and caution should always be used while online. Always think twice before sharing any controversial comments or photos. Check your privacy settings often. Never share your address or other personal information. Keep in mind that anything you do share may be seen by people you don’t know. Even private messages can be read by anyone who has access to the user’s computer. Be wary of the motives of people you don’t know well. Never agree to meet with anyone you do not know.

By Kevin Rizzo
Source: Pew Research Center; "Social networking sites and our lives" by Keith Hampton, Lauren Sessions Goulet, Lee Rainie and Kristen Purcell, http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Technology-and-social-networks.aspx; Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/help; US-CERT Cyber Security Tip ST06-003 – "Staying Safe on Social Network Sites" by Mindi McDowell, http://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/tips/ST06-003

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