Why Facebook-Friends are Real Friends
How do friendships relate to our desire to be loved for who we are and find recognition in our personal relationships? The friendships made on online social networks such as Facebook seem to be exemplary in this regard. But the desire for recognition that underlies these friendships raises the question of pathological narcissism. I contrast this type of friendship with one in which narcissistic ties are not pathological but forge half-way decent individuals—while better accommodating the desires and expectations placed on friends today than traditional models such as comradery, friendship in need, and selfless friendship do. The idea of friendship as a moralizing force ties into Aristotle’s notion of friendship as a relationship that conveys specific virtues.
Björn Vedder is a freelance writer and curator who holds a PhD in literature from the University of Bielefeld. His books, which address topics in art, literature, and philosophy, include Neue Freunde: Über Freundschaft in Zeiten von Facebook (2017), Erkenntnis und Spektakel: Über Kunst und Illusion (2014), and Wilhelm Heinse und der so genannte Sturm und Drang: Künstliche Paradiese der Natur zwischen Rokoko und Klassik (2011).