I was so focused on Pope Benedict XVI's new YouTube channel that I missed the section of his message today directed at the 150 million of us who may be spending too much time on Facebook. The key quote, which clearly seems to refer to Facebook friending (or at least to so-called 'friend harvesters'): "If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction." Here's the full paragraph:
"The concept of friendship has enjoyed a renewed prominence in the vocabulary of the new digital social networks that have emerged in the last few years. The concept is one of the noblest achievements of human culture. ... We should be careful, therefore, never to trivialise the concept or the experience of friendship. It would be sad if our desire to sustain and develop on-line friendships were to be at the cost of our availability to engage with our families, our neighbours and those we meet in the daily reality of our places of work, education and recreation. If the desire for virtual connectedness becomes obsessive, it may in fact function to isolate individuals from real social interaction while also disrupting the patterns of rest, silence and reflection that are necessary for healthy human development."