What is a friend anyway?

I remember and old saying:

On the Internet, nobody knows you are a dog

Well, with Orkut and similar services, this might chance fast. Being confronted with a global and pretty virtual community (given that you might know many people just by email or via weblogs) it is very difficult to say who is your friend and who isn‘t. I am not sure about the general use of the word “friend” in english-speaking societies, but for me it makes a difference to talk about friends, people-i-know and people-i-ike. Being a fan of somebody is yet another case.

So playing around with a online social network I have to reconsider how I will build up my social neighbourhood. Is it just friends only? Or is it everybody I know? Or should it be everybody I like?

In the end it might not matter because nobody cares anyway. But I think I‘ll go for the people-i-know-in-person approach as friendships comes and go (or last forever anyway) and that‘s probably what other people are more interested in anyway. I define knowing as being a mutual relationship: it‘s not enough being known or knowing somebody, both has come together. In the end, we want to be sure what we are talking about, eh?

It comes to my mind that Orkut might be helpful in remembering names which is not one of my strengths.

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