My assumptions about friends on social media were up-ended by this story in The Atlantic. A well-connected artist decided to get to know her 600+ Facebook "friends" better. Much to her and my surprise, many casual connections were excited to extend their friendship off-line. She visited and photographed them, usually in their homes.
My hunch is that social media give us a chance to extend our social life to people we would have liked if we had met them in real life. Also, we can maintain permanent online profiles that help people reinforce their memory and understanding of us. We may really be raising our number of personal relationships in a revolutionary way.
The Atlantic: How Real Are Facebook Friendships?, 2015-Feb-4 by Jacoba Urist
“Can you really know somebody if you’ve never seen their home?” Hollander asked. “To me, when I started, a friend was someone whose house you knew, someone you had eaten dinner with, but now I’ve realized that might not be as important to the definition of friendship.” She felt an immediate sense of connection to the Facebook friends she visited, even those she had never met physically—as did they, she believes, evidenced by the high participation rate.