One of the criticisms towards social networks is that it's all about numbers and the meaning of "friends", as we know it, is lost. In the past, the social discussion was all about friendship that is based on trust, respect and mutual appreciation. With the social networking trend, especially Facebook, we are now embracing a new jargon, which is the outcome of the web 2.0 lifestyle. Words such as networking, degree of separation and virtual friends has become common in our every day life and conversations.
Speaking of the advantages, one of the main benefits of social networks is the ability to keep in touch with a large number of people, not sure they all should be called friends, but again it's all about networking and not friendships. The equation is fairly simple, the more friends you have, the larger your networking is and greater the options you will have in life. Now more than ever, it's all about knowing the person the knows the person with the right information and contacts for you to use.
To summarize, there are 2 main points in this post (1) the social discussion and logistic has been changed. Based on bourdieu's theory (French sociologist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Bourdieu#Language) , social trends influence and dictate the social jargon and (2) the importance of quantity is growing, how many connections have you got on facebook is the right question and not how many true friends/ soul mates you have. So come on people, start spamming the world with networking requests!