Never Let You Go: Friendship in the Facebook Age

New essay up this morning at The Millions. It’s called “Never Let You Go: Friendship in the Facebook Age” and it expresses some reservations about the thin way that friendships that would have been over completely even a decade ago live on through social networks:

On a gut level, I couldn’t figure out what to make of this. Was I supposed to feel happy to hear from long lost Jake? Was I supposed to write back “thanks” as though it were completely natural to be wished a happy birthday by a person whose existence is barely more real to me than a character’s in a novel? There seemed to be no categories or schema in the evolutionarily designed layout of my brain to process an encounter that bore qualities in common with a person coming back from the dead.

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