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Is it Time for a Few New Definitions?

by Tim Connor

tim connor 50Let me ask you - how many friends do you have on Facebook or LinkedIn that you don't know, have never met and have never talked to?

If I had to guess, I'll wager it's most of the people on the various sites you are connected with.  Am I right?

OK, so after several years of social media redirecting and controlling our lives, I believe its time for a few new definitions.  Agree, disagree, like, don't like - doesn't matter - I will guarantee how you define the following has changed in the past few or several years. I'll give you the traditional (dictionary) definition first them mine. Feel free to add yours if inclined.

Friend

Traditional - a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of sexual or family relations.

Mine - Someone who knows you, trusts you and supports you, believes in you, is with you in the good and the bad, and want's the best for you.

Acquaintance 

Traditional - a person one knows slightly, but who is not a close friend.

Mine - Someone you have connected with at some point in your life and from time to time - reconnect in some way.

Stranger

Traditional - a person whom one does not know or with whom one is not familiar.

Mine - Anyone who crosses your path - in an airport, restaurant, business meeting, while on vacation or a first date and you never see them again.

Associate

Traditional - a partner or colleague in business or at work.

Mine - Someone you have a common and mutual bond with, in a professional way.

Connection

Traditional - a relationship in which a person, thing, or idea is linked or associated with something else.

Mine - Anyone you meet where you have something in common and develop this in a mutually positive way as time passes.

Foreigner

Traditional - a person born in or coming from a country other than one's own.

Mine - Anyone not from the country they are currently in whether they are visiting, are on vacation, are running away from home, are looking for a new or different adventure or are a new citizen of their new country.

I'm sure some of you might take issue with some of my definitions and that is your prerogative.  The only reason I have written this is to ask you how many social media so-called friends do you actually know or who know you?  So, Tim - what's your point?

No disrespect to anyone, but on a recent birthday I received over 300 birthday wishes from social media strangers (so-called friends) and I personally knew 12 of them. One of my social media "friends" has over 595 photos on their social media account. I see people who go to the trouble every day to keep us all informed of their lives as they progress from day to day.  One person every day for a week actually complained about how they had been dumped in a relationship. Does your world of "friends" need to know?  Do most of them really care?

Who has time for this - to either list them or look at them?  And we wonder why we have lost the "human touch" in relationships.  I am by no means suggesting that all or any social media sources, everyone that is on them or those that use them for personal or business gain have no value or use.  I'm sure lots of people have gained fame, recognition, made new "real" friends, have made legitimate revenue and any number of other positive benefits or results from them.

I'm sure some of you who may have finished reading this article may be taking issue with some of my remarks and are defining me as - "out of touch, uncaring, unsupportive, irresponsible, stupid etc." I am guilty. I have no idea why I have over 4500 friends on FB and over 2500 connections on LinkedIn, but I do know this - most of them don't give a "real" rip about my life circumstances, issues, challenges or what I had for dinner last night.

Many words today are being used and interpreted differently than they have in the past and if this process keeps changing even more in the future (and trust me it will) - at some point we will all need to carry a personal emoji and/or a word dictionary with us at all times so we know what people are saying, implying or mean! We (most of us) are letting social media dictate and control many aspects of our lives - starting with how we define basic words. This, my friends, is a very slippery slope. . .


In His Service, Tim