Based on the essay Friends, Friendsters and MySpace, from Danah Boyd, the online social network known as Friendster is very similar to a popular social network used today known as Facebook. Facebook and Friendster are very similar with the concepts they have behind them in social networking and how they build different degrees of friendship. Friendster is not popular or maybe not even used in today’s popular social media culture, but its accomplishments, usage and ideas have not disappeared. One important thing that Boyd said about Friendster and social networks is that “based on an internal understanding of the audience, participants override the term ‘Friend’ to make room for a variety of different relationships so that they may properly show face. Their choice in how to do this is deeply influenced by the technological affordances of a given system and their perception of who might be looking” (Boyd, 3). They are many opportunities for people on social networks to interpret how friendship and mutual connections with other people. Users or any people new to the idea of social networking tend to assume that everyone on someone’s social network is their close friends who talk to them every day. The truth is that a social network can be exactly what any user wants out of it. Some people only want social networking to be something that can allow them to communicate with their distant and close friends or just a way to be socially engaged with their surroundings regardless if they lack any personal relationship with who they listed as friends.
Facebook allows users to distinguish between certain friends they have listed into categories. These categories can be brothers, sisters, parents (mom or dad) and close friends that can only see your posts that you wouldn’t want other people to see. Boyd is definitely correct about how the word “friend” in social networks like MySpace or Friendster have extended its meaning to something that isn’t just a certain kind of relationship (Boyd, 3-4). I do not believe this is the worst scenario because it is quite helpful to have people in your community, even if they are listed as friends, on social networks like Facebook, Friendster or MySpace because it is easy to get in contact with them in a time of need. For me I like having friends on Facebook outside of people I have a certain relationship with such as students in my classes. The reason why is because I may need them to help me study for an exam, work on an assigned project and to know what is going on within our campus and community. Boyd mentions Adams and Allen’s argument of friendship and how the term is viewed differently in different cultures (Boyd, 3). These different cultures include today’s new media and social culture so friendship, especially on these online social networks, can be interpreted as far as anyone wants to and how they choose to show friendship.