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Redefining the Medium: Fleeting Fame, Fast Friends and Social Media Connections Part I.

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“The glory of friendship is not the outstretched hand, nor the kindly smile, nor the joy of companionship; it is the spiritual inspiration that comes to one when you discover that someone else believes in you and is willing to trust you with a friendship.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Korean Bell of Friendship

Korean Bell of Friendship

Friendship Highway - Tibet gorge

Friendship Highway – Tibet gorge

Friendship: the quality or state of being friendly, attached to another by affection or esteem: favored companion. Webster
Fame: the state or quality of being widely honored and acclaimed. Webster
Social Media: Social media supports the human need for social interaction, using Internet- and web-based technologies/tools to transform broadcast media monologues (one to many) into social media dialogues (many to many). Wikipedia

Redefining the Medium: Fleeting Fame, Fast Friends and Shifting Social Media Connections Part I: Recently, I watched Rabbi Schmuley Boteach speak about his tapes/new book during an NBC Today Show interview. In case you’ve forgotten this story, I’ll refresh your memory. Not long after Micheal Jackson passed away, Rabbi Boteach decided to publish the contents of several confidential exchanges he’d had with Michael. The explanation he offered for why he wrote the book, based on 30 hours of taped confidential interviews with Michael Jackson, gave me pause. Some folks were outraged and said it was a privacy issue, whilst others felt it was fine to publish these intimate conversations. I wondered how the dead would react if they could respond to the actions of those who choose to speak on their behalf; sometimes in the name of “friendship.”

No matter how objective we wish to be on matters of public interest, there comes a time when we must stop and think about how fame impacts friendships and how fleeting it can be. Of course, in Michael Jackson and Rabbi Schmuley Boteach’s case, we might ask: Is this the action of a true friend? At what point do we cross the line of offering meaningful support, to taking advantage in a relationship? Should all relationships be considered sacrosanct? In our contemporary, fast moving world of instant gratification, what is the new definition of friendship? Should the deceased be spared or perhaps, in the battle for media attention, everything and everyone is game?

“Silence is the true friend that never betrays.” Confucius

Friendship, Love and Truth

Friendship, Love and Truth

Friendly Cubs

Friendly Cubs

Ironically, in the scramble for fast and fleeting fame, we have allowed our friendships to disintegrate; we know reality TV characters better than we know ourselves. We bond endlessly with people we have never met; and hopefully with some we plan to meet. Our TV friends meet us everywhere; online, offline and in hard copy. How does this serve our growth as social beings? So when you think about it, it’s far from shocking. After all, we live in a world where many of us clamor for our 15-minutes-of-fame (Andy Warhol coined the phrase), and once we get it, we focus all our energies on creating the extended version.

We have inherited a world where as the interviewer on a rather interesting episode of CBS’ 60 minutes suggested, CMG Worldwide is the CAA for “Delebrities” – the Dead On Arrival. For the famous, death can bring a new crop of fans and friends. For the living, Einstein is the biggest Deleb and according to a Wiki report, 85,000 claim to make a living as professional Elvis Impersonators. Yes, one can appreciate the need to give proper acknowledgment to the deceased and we must honor them, but what about the living? Aside from the financial benefits to heirs and handlers, what are the implications of this notion of perpetual, eternal fan friendships?

Looking back at the Michael Jackson Tapes revelation, what was equally telling was how different media outlets chose to present this discomfiting revelation of MJ’s private chats. It was viewed through different lenses; some clear, some tinted and others fogged over. An underlying question ought to be, do we need to know more? Granted, this is news, however, do we linger long enough to contemplate how massive doses of data flung at our heads are sifted? Do we still exercise logic and the process of evaluation? Do we need to be privy to every incestuous relationship? Even in the name of fame, fanship or friendship? I think most of us let the data fly by and then revisit it when we have quiet moments.

“I’m Nobody! Who are you? Are you — Nobody — too?
Then there’s a pair of us? Don’t tell! They’d advertise — you know!” Emily Dickinson

Two Elephant Trunks meet in Friendship

Two Elephant Trunks meet in Friendship

With the tremendous exposure to instant sound bites on what celebrities, close and distant friends/family, and even acquaintances do, it is no wonder that media saturation and information overload have blurred the lines between what we once considered public fodder and private discourse. With the click of a mouse, we have immediate access to information that can educate, titillate and truly aggravate us. We are not always better informed by the excess. Sometimes, it is simply, just damn overwhelming. Whether you are famous, infamous or irrelevant (though no one should be considered such), the internet has become home to all our fibs and foibles. Hence, it is not surprising that our definitions of friendship are distorted.

“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” Anais Nin

HitLab Augmented Reality

Since many of us today are increasingly busy with our social networking communications, we have little time left for actual real life interactions. We have access to sophisticated toys, a growing array of new technologies and social network sites that have augmented and amplified our relationships and sense of reality. Some of these new technologies, like Augmented Reality (AR), a term coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, can and do offer compelling opportunities in the medical, gaming and learning environments. AR conferences draw industry gurus and brilliant researchers who are pushing the boundaries of invented reality; albeit an augmented one.

AR, in real-time, merges virtual 3D objects into real world video sources and creates a mixed reality. For instance, AR creates virtual characters that can step out of the page of a story book or a video screen as if real. There is research work on using AR technology to create virtual celebrities. This brings to mind the realization that, potentially, every child’s imaginary friend can be brought to life to interact and engage the child in some version of 3D wonderment. Yes, medical and learning environments will be enriched. All well and good … however, I can’t help but ask how this will affect our sense of wonderment and our use of pure imagination? I hope for the better…
More Later. TBC…

Photo Credits: Korean Bell ~ Google Images
Friendship Highway, Tibet Gorge ~ Marty L. Lutz
Friendship, Love and Truth ~ Google Images
Friendship ~
Two Elephants in Friendship ~ Google images

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank

75 Comments leave one →
  1. 29/09/2009 6:10 pm

    Well written – Friendship is more important than the number of friends we have…

    Eliz says: Thank you for your comment James. I concur.

    • 20/12/2010 11:47 am

      Thank you for your comment James. I concur, friendship is far more impt. 🙂

  2. mutuellle permalink
    28/04/2010 7:38 am

    Thanks for this article very interesting!

    • 20/12/2010 11:48 am

      Thanks again for your feedback. Comments are always appreciated 🙂

  3. Wanamaker permalink
    15/05/2010 12:00 pm

    Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article. It proved to be Very helpful to me and I am sure to all the commenters here! It’s always nice when you can not only be informed, but also entertained! I’m sure you had fun writing this article.

    • 20/12/2010 11:49 am

      I sure did Wanamaker… Do you blog? Stop by and update me soon. 🙂

  4. 24/06/2015 2:53 pm

    Reblogged this on Mirth and Motivation and commented:

    Revisiting a familiar topic: Online Friendships, Fame and the world of Social Media… What are your thoughts?

  5. Masshole Mommy permalink
    24/06/2015 3:03 pm

    A couple of my best friends are people I met through blogging. I love that it allows me to connect with people I never would have met otherwise.

  6. Jeanine permalink
    24/06/2015 3:19 pm

    Friendships are so important. All of mine though are online, and that’s just fine with me! That photo of the elephant trunks is beautiful.

  7. acrogers26 permalink
    24/06/2015 3:23 pm

    Very interesting read! A new way to look at the people around us and the friendships we have on and offline.

  8. Dina Demarest permalink
    24/06/2015 4:06 pm

    8,500 people make their living as an Elvis impersonator? That is unreal!

  9. Marie Shaff permalink
    24/06/2015 4:06 pm

    Friends are so important whether you realize it or not, they are always there for you in some way. And I love the tiger picture!

  10. Liz Mays permalink
    24/06/2015 4:30 pm

    Whether a person is alive or dead doesn’t change what they were like as a person. If there’s only bad to say, well then… that’s just the way it is.

  11. Elizabeth Sanders Towns permalink
    24/06/2015 5:43 pm

    I love the quotes! Friendship has to be valued in a world where fast and quick is the norm. I definitely must share!

  12. Beth Williams permalink
    24/06/2015 7:10 pm

    I agree friendship is important! Also that first photo, of the Korean friendship bell is really cool! Thanks for sharing.

  13. Dawn McAlexander Crawford permalink
    24/06/2015 8:42 pm

    I always appreciate good friendships rather than many friendships. You can have a hundred friends but not have a good relationship with them.

  14. Michelle hwee permalink
    24/06/2015 9:15 pm

    This is very cool 🙂 Very interesting article, never read anything like it before! Thanks for sharing it!!

  15. Dara permalink
    24/06/2015 9:20 pm

    very interesting article on the connection of friends and social media. My best friend is one I have met online, we Skype now every morning over coffee. Thank you for a great article.

  16. Tina permalink
    24/06/2015 9:48 pm

    I learned many years ago that one is fortunate if he (or she) has 5 true friends in the entire lifetime. I have that many, and a ton of acquaintances. But a true friend is someone I would and could call at 4 in the morning if I were in trouble, not feeling any guilt or second thought. How many do you have?

  17. ronleyba permalink
    24/06/2015 10:22 pm

    A good long read. Thanks for sharing this Eliz!

  18. upliftingfam permalink
    24/06/2015 10:22 pm

    I value all of the friendships that I have made along the way. Blogging wouldn’t be the sane without the friendships too. Thank you for sharing. I wish everyone could tolerate each other instead of displaying all the hatred.

  19. 24/06/2015 10:58 pm

    Really interesting and thought provoking, I don’t know anything about ‘celebrities’ and wouldn’t be able to identify any, other than long time serious actors and musicians, I don’t watch much TV and certainly not reality shows.

  20. Catherine permalink
    25/06/2015 1:42 am

    Really interesting read. Friendship is really important to me and something that needs trust and work like any relationship. I do really value the online friendships that I’ve gained through blogging too though.

  21. Esme Sy permalink
    25/06/2015 2:05 am

    Quality friends over quantity for me.

    I would rather keep quiet if what I know was told to me in private.

  22. Jerusha permalink
    25/06/2015 4:36 am

    I agree… Friendship is something that’s both potentially fragile, fleeting, and false. What a fantastic article to help us keep perspective on the true value of friendship. –

  23. Karen Dawkins permalink
    25/06/2015 5:29 am

    Friendship is an investment of the heart, not numbers. Loved the elephant trunk photo — so fitting!

  24. Jessica Beal Harlow permalink
    25/06/2015 5:51 am

    I think the advent of social media has definitely has an impact on the concept of friendship. Our birds eye view into every waking moment of everyone between the onslaught of social media (which does have some positives) and “reality” tv is bound to have a profound effect on our expectations of people (i.e. friends). I tend to limit my personal interactions through a bullhorn, lol. I like to keep some mystery!

  25. sriches permalink
    25/06/2015 6:15 am

    What a lovely post! When you get older the quality of your friendships is certainly more important than the quantity of your friends. My best friend is always there no matter what!

  26. Rebel Sweetheart permalink
    25/06/2015 6:20 am

    I would love to see that Korean Bell of Friendship up close one of these days. 🙂

  27. 25/06/2015 6:39 am

    I always try to make time for my friends – like to meet them face-to-face instead of random hellos online. It just seems that it’s been getting really difficult for people to meet in person these days. But in social media, everyone just seems so friendly. That tells me that people have double lives. It’s a bit sad because friendships are difficult to keep these days despite the premise that social networks should help us stay connected with each other. So yeah, friendship is fleeting. I just wish that people will realize that real, actual relationships are better than virtual ones unless of course you miles apart.

    Anyways, I really like the term delebrities … learned something new today, lol. 🙂

  28. 25/06/2015 7:25 am

    We do have to thank the internet for making us see a different side of people – celebrities, for instance … through the internet we’ve all seen that they’re pretty much like regular people doing the same stuff but on a different level. The way that everyone connects is just overwhelming but at the same time, it saddens me how everything is instant and yes, fleeting.

    PS. I am guilty of having sophisticated toys but they’re mostly used for scheduling stuff and I don’t like deleting messages so that’s pretty much how these toys work for me.

  29. michelle co permalink
    25/06/2015 9:00 am

    Very true, I always believe in quality over quantity.

  30. 3sonshavei permalink
    25/06/2015 9:04 am

    What beautiful images. I would love to travel and take these myself

  31. sicorra permalink
    25/06/2015 9:25 am

    Great post, and I love the images.

  32. Louise permalink
    25/06/2015 10:25 am

    I have heard stories about friendships that was destroyed because of fame or social media. It’s sad that as we have advancements in technology and other areas, some loses their values for certain things. Not just because technology especially the internet gives us the freedom to know and speak of many things, we should. We must know our limits too.

  33. vegetarianmamma permalink
    25/06/2015 11:51 am

    I agree! Recently, I’ve taken a step back on personal social media. I want to focus more on true friendships rather than the 100’s of “friends” on facebook.

  34. beckysbestbites permalink
    25/06/2015 12:08 pm

    What a well thought out and written article!! It is very true that we are not always well informed by the excess out there in this digital world!!

  35. writergal10 permalink
    25/06/2015 12:39 pm

    Great article! Friendship is so important and I am glad you touched on this. Love your photos too by the way 🙂 so cute!

  36. Debbie Denny permalink
    25/06/2015 2:08 pm

    One good true friend is worth millions. This is the one you trust,

  37. Stephanie Pass permalink
    25/06/2015 2:49 pm

    Great article! I definitely think real friendships are more important.

  38. Nicol Wong permalink
    25/06/2015 3:19 pm

    love how friendship can help define who you are. there are people who just comes and goes but those who stay are the true friends.

  39. sinyees permalink
    25/06/2015 8:08 pm

    This gave me a deep thought. Thanks for sharing such inspiring post.

  40. M from The Stay-at-Home Life permalink
    25/06/2015 8:10 pm

    You bring up good points and give me something to think about. Great photos, too!

  41. The Trophy WifeStyle permalink
    25/06/2015 8:48 pm

    Ahhhhhhhh I feel the older I get, the less I care about having amillion “friends”. It’s all about quality these days. Even if that means only having afew.

  42. lifeofatravelingnavywife permalink
    25/06/2015 10:18 pm

    I had no idea that Rabbi Schmuley Boteach published these interviews. Couldn’t agree more – true friendship. This is what matters.

  43. Zaffira permalink
    25/06/2015 10:47 pm

    Friendship is definitely important. Very well written. now I miss my friends.

  44. Kero Pinkihan permalink
    25/06/2015 11:23 pm

    a lovely post on friendship! I’m happy to say i learn a lot from every friend I meet – and I treasure those lessons — whether of life, of cooking, or of raising my child.

  45. Ling Tan permalink
    26/06/2015 3:07 am

    Friendship, such a simple concept but a really complicated thing too… I think people come into our lives for a reason, sometimes for a season, sometimes for longer. Cherish it for what it is!

  46. Pal Raine permalink
    26/06/2015 4:05 am

    I agree that most of the time people are into social media. The true meaning of friendship is redefine as something to a virtual friendship, and that depleted the true meaning of FRIENDSHIP in real world.

    • 28/06/2015 6:35 pm

      True… a lot of online friendships are no real. Thya can become real but until they do, they are just virtual game shows.

  47. Fred permalink
    26/06/2015 4:47 am

    Interesting story about Michael Jackson and his “friend”. I wish my friends would not betray my confidence when I pass away. Till death do us part. But trust should last even beyond death. – Fred

  48. Franc Ramon permalink
    26/06/2015 5:15 am

    Social media has became an online hang out for friends even if they are apart. Friendship is what keep us afloat even on tough times as the helping hands lifts us up.

  49. Fernando permalink
    26/06/2015 6:01 am

    Friendship in general is universal in nature but different in scope or degree. It’s a relationship that blossom in time and bonds. Likewise, true friendship has its own merits to each other, not just in one side only. Fernando Lachica

  50. Amanda Love permalink
    26/06/2015 6:26 am

    I personally think that if it’s confidential it should still be confidential even after death. That’s what true friendship is all about.

  51. 26/06/2015 8:45 am

    Again I love the quotes. A part of friendship not talked about enough, except by you is the “Believing in you” emotional support and solidarity are wonderful, but being a creative is a fragile experience, and having people really believe in what you do is one of the wonders of communicating on social media in my opinion

    • 28/06/2015 6:25 pm

      True… it has its pros and cons and the up side is the creative collaborations and support; even if some of it is temporary. But it’s not entirely “true” in many exchanges so the fleeting nature is quite profound.

  52. Tiffany Yong permalink
    26/06/2015 10:30 am

    With social media, you are right about fleeting friendship. I believe things will only get faster and faster… until humans stop being too superficial to realize the importance of what’s beneath~

  53. jsmakegreengogreen permalink
    26/06/2015 11:05 am

    Beautiful post! Quality is better than quantity when it comes to friendship. Great pictures to compliment your ideas too.

  54. Rebecca Swenor permalink
    26/06/2015 10:49 pm

    This is a very interesting post indeed and exciting technology as well. I love all these quotes about friendships or what they mean. The virtual technology I don’t think will ever take away our affects of wonderment but will build on it. Thanks for sharing.

  55. Holly @ Woman Tribune permalink
    27/06/2015 12:12 am

    You are so right. Way too many friendships end up deteriorating, with time or not enough work put into them. Friendships are really like any other relationship, they take time and attention. But real friendships have a way of overcoming all that, our closest friends sticking by us throughout so much.

  56. hannah gee permalink
    27/06/2015 8:34 am

    Online friendships can be a very strange thing, but many good things have come from it also. I definitely believe in the quality rather than quantitiy of friends.

  57. Sunshine Kelly permalink
    27/06/2015 8:43 am

    No doubt that we are on online most of the time. Some friends that I get to know through social media are sincere and some are not. However my true friends and soul mates are from my school days and offline.

  58. Fatemah Sajwani permalink
    28/06/2015 4:54 am

    wow great article Liz.
    I loved how you combined social media and friendship because now a days friendships are really measured on social media website rather than physically.

  59. Maria Teresa Figuerres permalink
    29/06/2015 10:35 pm

    Today’s technology allows us to meet new friends online. It doesn’t really matter where and how we meet our friends. For as long as they are trustworthy and they won’t betray us, all is good.

  60. 03/07/2015 4:05 pm

    Real Friends are those even if you don’t meet everyday, you just pick right where you eft off when you meet again. I have a couple of friends who are like that and I treasure them.


  1. Posts about Michael Jackson as of September 28, 2009 » The Daily Parr
  2. Michael Jackson Is Dead : » Blog Archive » Redefining the Medium: Fleeting Fame, Fast Friends and Social Media Connections Part I.
  3. Fame, Friendships and Social Media Connections Part II. « Eof737’s Mirth and Motivation

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