Are websites the new “it” teen best friend. I talk to hundreds of teens everyday and I started to realize a disturbing trend…teens talk about their favorite websites like they talk about their best friends…or instead of their best friends.
I have written about how the digital age has changed the friendonomics for young people. I worry that Cotton Candy friends will permeate the space until teens will either be so lonely that they will reach into real life again, or they will just turn elsewhere…to websites? As friendships become all about Twittering what I wrote for breakfast and who poked who on Facebook, where is the connection. I think websites might be the best young people can get.
1. “She is always there”
Websites, like a good best friend are always up, running and, well, loyal.
2. “I think about what he is doing when I am not with him”
I hear teens often comment about what is going up on YouTube, or that they might be missing something on ESPN. They are more interested in this sometimes than their own friends.
3. “I want to be with her every chance I get.”
Teens check their favorite websites every chance they get, at school, on phones, in the middle of the night when parents are sleeping…”
4. “Spending time with her is so comforting.”
I think the familiarity of a website can be very comforting to upset, emotional, hormonal or over excited teens, just like a best friend.
5. “We are so compatible”
Web 2.0 is all about users being able to modify, change and adapt their content to whatever they want. On Ning, Twitter and Myspace teen users can change wallpaper, the color of their buttons and much more…very much like a bedroom or a best friend with similar tastes and interests.
6. “When the he is down, I feel lost and depressed.”
Do not be around a teenager when their favorite website is down or going through maintenance. It used to be that when a best friend was away on family vacation, it was the worse feeling in the world. I hear teens talk about maintenance on Youtube like someone they love has just gone into a coma.
7. “I like helping her with her problems”
This generation also loves participating in marketing campaigns, submitting their own idea, videos and comments to blogs and companies just like friends helping each other with problems.
8. “We have grown up together.”
I sort of feel like I have grown up with Facebook. I was one of the first 20 schools admitted into Facebook when it was just for college students. I have watched it change, grow, adapt and I feel like I have also done these things. As with a childhood best friend, I think many teens feel this way about the websites they have been visiting all their lives. They become very attached.
This was a rather sad article for me to write. Partially, because I think I fit into some of these examples. I have written poetry about my blog like it is my baby and for the Internet like it is my husband. It is a constant battle for me to leave my favorite websites for a few days and develop real relationships…scary that real life friendships can be so much work. Who is your teen’s e-BFF?
This post is dedicated to Jane Buckingham because she is on the lead of every cool new trend and knows all of the coolest new teen BFF’s.