“Dinner tonight?

“Sure! Where?”

“New place down the road.”

“Yup! Btw love the stole in your dp. It's awesome”

“Thanks. Will get ready right away. Or do you want to go first?.”

A typical Saturday night conversation. Only on Facebook between two roommates, seated opposite each other, wired in to a virtual world and wading through a web of multiple conversations until they bump into each other there!

If you have a profile on Zuckerberg's popular networking site as millions of other homo sapiens, then the above will make perfect sense. Welcome to the world of redefined friendships, courtesy social networking.

Legends, fables, novels, films and popular culture have always found their favorite Muse in friendship.

From Phintias and Damon who willingly took the gallows for each other or our very own Duryodhana and Karna, to the loyal wizarding buddies of the ‘boy who lived' and the wonderful bunch sitting down for coffee at Central Perk in one of television's most popular sitcom , friendship has always been prized highly.

With August bearing special significance for friends, it is tempting to take a look at friendships in they cyber age- to wonder aloud if Facebook and Myspace have changed the way we connect ?

Grishma, a mass communications student feels that social networking renews childhood friendships and brings back old chums together. True, you cannot deny the joy when you rediscover the curly haired girl who shared her slate pencil in kindergarten or the boy who played the lead in the school play are on the same page as you- literally!!

“It is impossible to chat with everyone everyday. But you can get in touch anytime by a simple post on the wall or a message. It is fun to pick up threads of old conversations and relieve memories browsing through pictures where you are ‘tagged' with your buddies,” says Grishma.

“If you want to know what's happening in the lives of your larger circle of friends, Facebook is the first place you'll hear of it,” says Sapna.”

Important or trivial, from the engagement of a high school classmate to the colour of the new shoes your cousin's friend's sister bought, all is laid bare here.

While most agree that social networking bridges the distance and shortens the mile like no other means of communication, there are those who strongly hold that ‘facebook' cannot deepen friendships.

As Raja, an engineering graduate quips, “Social networking means more friends, but less friendship.” Anima, commerce student agrees, “The number of people on your ‘Friends' list does not indicate the number of intimate friends you have. Most of these friendships are casual, they wither away with time.”

But Kanna, a undergraduate student believes that new friendships with people around the globe are possible with Facebook.

Though Brinda Noel, a MA student cautions, “There's a risk element attached when total strangers become friends. You are vulnerable to being taken advantage of.” For many, Facebook is also an initial platform to connect in the real world.

From road trips and mass bunking plans to collaborating for social causes and discussing college projects, social networking provides a premise for a group of people to hang out virtually across space and distance.

But be it online or off line, face to face or on chat, friendship is fundamentally about being there for someone. “It is a way of saying I remember you inspite of the everyday routine,” sums up literature student Anu. "

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