Yes however demonstrably there[sic] were not that worth it for you to maintain contact. And that's the real point.
Drifting apart from a person who you have been separated from has nothing to do with the level of contact you maintain with that person, and how much you care to maintain it. When you go from seeing a person every day to a relationship of an occasional phone call/IM/email/whatever, you're going to start drifting apart. That is an inevitability. This is true for both platonic friendships and deep romances. People in long distance relationships don't get closer, so don't be absurd by suggesting a friendship isn't valued because they don't maintain a relationship as well as they did when they were in constant contact. Lives are busy, complicated, and things that we would like to do and like to have time for often get thrown on the backburner. Social networks can specifically counter this effect by creating a new form of constant contact in a way that most other communication technologies frankly aren't able to match. It isn't the same, nor is it as good as seeing face to face, but it's undeniably useful if you actually care about your past relationships.
Young people text because they are too lazy to even spell out "you"! Actually I think Betty White said it best when she said: "It seems like a tremendous waste of time"
oh wow, so old people don't get technology, why i've never heard of such a thing
The question I'm asking is: Why were the relationships lost in the first place?
People graduate from high schools and collages, people get new jobs, people move, etc etc etc. Not every relationship gets curtailed because you no longer relate to your past friendships.
Is Facebook that much more convenient than e-mail, IRC, SMS, IM, or a telephone call?
It very much is, and follows the pattern of young people tending to send text messages instead of calling someone directly. It is a more passive, less confrontational, and overall more convenient way to engage with another person who would not be otherwise directly accessible.
I am usually the first person to defend Roger Ebert, but he is just talking out of his ass here. The terms of his argument are ludicrous, he's operating from extreme prejudice and ignorance, and he's using highly loaded terms that are selectively defined in a way that most supports his point of view. I don't care what he has to say here. Either games have provided meaningful personal moments for you or they have not.
I'm going to refer back to Angel's post because I think "games as art" conversations become immediately bogged down in vapid comparisons to other media. The unique element of games, of any game, are the rules - a collection of agreed-upon (or enforced) mechanics that interact with player choice and action to facilitate some larger meaning.
Chess is a great game. Its elegance and complexity and apparently limitless depth makes it compelling and endlessly intriguing. It clearly taps into something we find really, really fascinating. The game board is both entirely abstract and deeply metaphorical. If you don't want to call chess a work of art, then you're just being pedantic or snotty. How many artists have employed chess in their works? As a marker of intelligence? As a symbol of rivalry? Of friendship? As a metaphor for the futility of war, or its strategy and beauty? How many chess terms have entered popular vocabulary?
Games are meaningful creative works. They've been around for a very long time and have long informed our popular consciousness, and video games are just another form. Games help people understand how simple ideas (i.e. rules) can interact in complex ways, or how complex ideas can interact in ultimately simple and exploitable ways, or how certain ideas will inevitably lead towards certain outcomes.
When a great game comes to a climax, it is not because some animator somewhere really nailed an awesome cut scene. The climax of a great game involves a moment when all of the various rules come together in a way that reveals the meaning and depth of their interaction. In chess, this happens with a checkmate - a moment when the game comes to fruition, where the meaning of every previous move becomes clear, and when player actions intersect in a decisive moment.
This is why Roger Ebert doesn't give a shit about games: because he doesn't play them. You can't understand games without playing them. You can't have someone sit you down and try to explain Flower with a powerpoint presentation. Games are about learning, not experiencing. When you play a game, you're learning it, and you're playing for those great "Oh" moments where something emerges out of the rules that you didn't expect or couldn't appreciate without seeing those rules in action. Some games do this once or very few times (such as "Train" or "Passage") but are nonetheless great. Other games do this many times (such as Chess).
It's really frustrating to see essays like Ebert's. It's not because he upsets me (who cares?), but because gamers everywhere insist on ruminating about the "future of games" when in reality games are old as hell. Video games have done some great new things with them, but games are still games, and there's absolutely no reason to defend them when they've done a great job being important parts of our culture for the past few thousand years.
"What a wonder is USENET; such wholesale production of conjecture from such a trifling investment in fact." -- Carl S. Gutekunst