Reality television, consumed with liberal doses of MySpace and Facebook, will make friendships of the future far more promiscuous. So says a newly-released study about people who invest a lot of time in creating profiles of themselves online (which is increasingly all of us). The authors of the study have discovered an intriguing trend in the way people are re-define "friendship" after hanging out a lot online. The good news is that current trends all point to more casual sex for people who "friend" each other online.
While plenty of studies have already shown that friendships have become much more casual in an era of "friending" random people on MySpace, this new study takes that idea further. Its authors describe how reality TV and social networking sites feed into each other, creating a world where many people think of themselves and their friends less as real people and more like iconic celebrities. The researchers call this a shift toward having "mediated" selves, as if all social interactions take place via the media.
I'm not saying Facebook et al. is all bad, but for me, the bad outweights the good.