Excellent online friendships: an Aristotelian defense of social media

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


I defend social media’s potential to support Aristotelian virtue friendship against a variety of objections. I begin with Aristotle’s claim that the foundation of the best friendships is a shared life. Friends share the distinctively human and valuable components of their lives, especially reasoning together by sharing conversation and thoughts, and communal engagement in valued activities. Although some have charged that shared living is not possible between friends who interact through digital social media, I argue that social media preserves the relevantly human and valuable portions of life, especially reasoning, play, and exchange of ideas. I then consider several criticisms of social media’s potential to host friendships, and refute or weaken the force of these objections, using this conception of a distinctively human shared life. I conclude that we should use the shared life to evaluate features of social media and norms for users’ conduct.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)287-297
Number of pages11
JournalEthics and Information Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 12 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.


  • Aristotle
  • Friendship
  • Privacy
  • Shared activity
  • Social media


Dive into the research topics of 'Excellent online friendships: an Aristotelian defense of social media'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this