Algorithmic friendship and other modern phenomena  NOV 05 2010

Susan Orlean catalogs the different kinds of online "friends" one might have.

The friend you sort of know, because you have friends in common and have maybe attended the same events -- not together, but you've both ended up there because you know a lot of the same people. You perhaps would not have thought to invite this person to a small party, and yet you do include him in your wider sense of your social circle -- and you now communicate with him via social media more than you ever did before such a thing existed, and you now have a surprising intimacy after years of static, unenergetic just-sort-of-knowing one another (formerly known as "an acquaintance").

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Susan Orlean

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