A while ago, a friend posted about how much she loathed the F-word - Facebook, that is. She has not taken to that form of electronic communication. I have read a lot in the last couple of years (mostly on the internets, of course) that bemoans the myriad forms of communication and how splintered we are; how the internet makes you stupid (there's even a whole book about that - that I know about because I listen to a podcast available through the wonders of the internet, of course). It has become a point of pride for some people that they will never tweet.
I end up somewhere in the middle. These things can be abused, can mute some forms of communication. The existence of Perez Hilton is a prime example of internet abuse, frankly.
Nonetheless, somehow the various social media have forged friendships from casual acquaintances as well as reaffirming others that, while deep, were not really based on keeping in regular touch. I have certainly bonded with relatively unknown acquaintances over amusing/political items posted on the F-word, and that has enabled us to go to concerts and dinners together and actually become real friends.
Moreover, I have a dear, dear friend (who I know reads this) with whom I am terrible at keeping in contact while I'm living in the US. Our friendship was formed before either of us had used the internet and, possibly as a consequence, we don't really communicate by email; the phone hasn't been our strong point either. We continue to see each other on visits, but we haven't kept up regular contact otherwise. Until round about now. Thanks to one particular social network, I now keep up with her every day. It opens a door into her world, what she's up to, where she's been, what's annoying her today. The stream of consciousness which has often formed the basis of our time together is now available to the two of us. It has genuinely changed my life for the better.
That I have one or two examples only probably illustrates the shallowness of my argument, but I maintain that for these cases at least, the fluttering shallow networks have enriched my social life in a way that I did not expect.