The way people make friends has not actually changed, but the verb “to friend” has. The transformation of friendships into something digital has made “friending” people as easy as clicking a few buttons. Thanks to Facebook and other sites, we can now know more about the person than we probably care to.
There was some discussion in the past few months about Facebook influencing students grades. While I read through the summary of the research, I did not see validity with it. The only way to tell if Facebook negatively influences grades would be to compare students academic performance before Facebook and after. Because of the prevelance of Facebook, I do not know if this is possible now. They should have done the test when Facebook was being introduced at different colleges. Facebook came to Elizabethtown College early in 2005. At the time, it was a big deal. The less academically minded students choose Facebook over their studies; however, if Facebook was not the distraction, they would have found something else to procrastinate with. I saw daily evidence of this. As a high achieving student, I enjoyed escaping to Facebook for a study break. Facebooking high school friends was a shorter diversion than watching a movie. It did not hurt my grades.
Another part of the article that I did not agree with was the emphasis that the smarter students do not have Facebook accounts. They might be book smart, but not keeping up with technology and turning away from social networking is showing that they do not have real world smarts. In a tough job market, who you know is almost (or more) important than what you know. Making connections with people is also significiant for another reason. The economy has caused people to re-evaluate how people do business. Transactions are not always done with money. I have seen a resurgance in barter/trade transactions. People who have specific skill sets realize they can work for each other and both benefit. If you do not know how to social network, it is going to cost you.