The changing face of friendship

Back in October, Becky presented at the Market Research Society’s Customers Exposed conference – a day-long exploration of key consumer trends in a rapidly-changing world. Ten speakers from across the industry offered enlightening, provocative takes on digital, social and economic changes that are challenging how researchers – and their clients – need to think about, and engage with, consumers.

Becky’s contribution – inspired by various recent studies, particularly in the digital space but also around families and parenting – explored how the mechanics of digital interaction are re-defining friendship. Empowering on the one hand, but also often isolating, Becky argued that – despite appearances – increased connectivity does not necessarily lead to more or ‘better’ friendships. On the contrary: some elements of digital interactions may actually sell us short – fracturing the bonds (trust, honesty, longevity) that traditionally define meaningful friendships by creating relationships that are superficial, fleeting or even dishonest.

In a world where businesses and their marketers remain dazzled by the relentless march of social networking, Becky wondered if this important nuance around the real meaning of 21st century friendship isn’t worth thinking about in more depth?

The presentation is summarised – along with those of Becky’s fellow speakers – in the latest issue of the MRS’s Impact magazine.