We’ve all been waiting with bated breath to see what the pope would say about our little Facebook obsession. And finally, here it is. He approves! Sort of. 83-year-old Pope Benedict has praised the potential of social networking — but warned that “online friendships are no substitute for real human contact.” Of course, the pope doesn’t even have his own Facebook account, so how would he know how great it feels to have 548 friends and counting? Or how impossible it is to have 548 real friends?
Via the New York Times, the pope admitted that new media and social networks offered “a great opportunity,” but also “warned of the risks of depersonalization, alienation, self-indulgence, and the dangers of having more virtual friends than real ones.”
“It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives,” Benedict said in the message for the Catholic Church’s World Day of Communications.
Of course, we have plenty of self-indulgent, depersonalized, alienated real-life relationships. So what’s the pope really getting at? Or is he just giving the typical knee-jerk anti-Internet reaction?
In related news, the New York Post details a poll published in Shape and Men’s Fitness that reveals that 40 percent of women will sleep with guys faster if they’ve texted or Facebooked with them a lot — even if they aren’t married and haven’t even gone on (that many, or any) dates. Social networking, apparently, “gives the false impression that you’ve actually been together for a longer amount of time, so it’s actually OK to have sex quicker,” said one psychologist.
Okay, Pope Benedict, now we see what you’re up to.