In a blog for Gadgetwise of the New York Times, Jenna Wortham suggests social networking tools like Facebook help us better manage our friendships. Online interactions with those we care about make us long for and enjoy more the face-to-face conversations we have with them. At the same time, we can more effectively keep others we’re not interested in at arms length.
But should relationships be managed? Should they be easy? Bill Keller executive editor for the New York Times thinks maybe that’s the problem. And I agree. I worry about a generation of students who have hundreds of friends online, but are bad at really being a friend. If we only want relationships that can be easily managed, we won’t be very good at things like patience, empathy, forgiveness, insight, and confrontation.
Tools are tools, but they never replace competence. Online tools are convenient, but relating to others made in God’s image should never be outsourced.