My research paper explores how youth form friendships on Facebook. When I first began researching this project, I thought I knew exactly what my hypothesis would be, which was that youth form fewer strong friendships online in favor of collecting a larger quantity of acquaintances. But I was surprised when the research I found suggested that this might not be the case.
Some research suggests that indeed, youth (and adults, as well) value quantity over quality of online friends. Yet, other research shows that youth are adapting to the online communities in such a way that nothing is actually changing.
This idea is a bit hard for me to understand. While I consider myself tech savvy, I now realize I am not truly a digital native and why. I personally can’t fathom how online interaction wouldn’t change how we make friends. My best friends in childhood were people I spent time with in person, and I can’t imagine developing close bonds with someone in a chat room instead of the playground or my backyard.
So, is everything changing, or is it the same as it always was? Are people changing how they communicate, or are they just adapting to a new medium?