Kim (kgkofmel) wrote,

Aureolin or New Gamboge?

For various reasons, I've been thinking about the meanings of "friend" and "community."

It tells me a lot that when I type those words, I find my mind automatically drifting towards social media. And of course, I'm writing this in a social media channel. Channel informs content, I suppose.

I don't know whether the social media adoption of these terms cheapens or strengthens them. Or maybe just leaves them neutral and unaffected.

I do know that "friend" is one of those words for which exact meaning changes based on context, and on who is speaking, where and when. Social media hasn't changed that, though it may have added some to the many possible meanings.

When I worked in an art store, I learned that there were more kinds of yellow than I had ever heard of, and they all had names. Now that I don't work in an art store, the distinctions are fading, and I don't remember the names.

But they are all still yellow.

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"Friend" in particular is one of those words for which we could stand to be more like the apocryphal Eskimos with their umpty-ump words for different types of snow. As things are now in English, it's being asked to do entirely too much hauling -- which in turn opens up wide vistas for miscommunication.
Mmm, I dunno. Having precise names for a lot of types of friends, could lead to a lot of wrangling and hurt feelings when there's disagreement about the precise level of friendship. I don't think the value of linguistic precision outweighs the potential for emotional drama there.