Wednesday, February 17, 2010

To friend or not to friend....?

When it comes to Facebook "friends" the term is used too loosely. I take friendship serious. I'd rather have 5 real friends than 500 fake virtual friends. I haven't had many friend requests on FB mostly due to the fact that no one knows who the hell I am. I don't use my real name, or my picture. There are over a dozen people out there who have the same name as me on FB. I wonder how many people have searched for me and turned their profiles instead.

I've always been very secretive about my last name and many of my friends have never known it. I've seen on FB all my old friends from high school who I really don't talk to anymore. Most people on FB reunite with all their old high school friends, I haven't. There's a reason who we lost touch perhaps, and that's because we didn't have much in common. So why would I then want to reunite with them? I have only one friend from high school that I still keep in touch with in real life and on FB.

There's a term I use for FB people who friend everybody, I call them "Facebook whores." These are people who are trying to get as many friends as possible and will friend anyone and except friend requests from anyone. I must admit that I hate the idea of friending someone that I don't really know well. Partially because I fear they may not accept it and partially because I'm very private online. I do wish I had more friends on FB though. I could start friending everyone randomly.

People who have 200+ friends must be in the business of being a FB whore. It's like a high school popularity contest. I do think that FB has changed the culture. I've heard people saying and writing that a relationship is not official until it is broadcast on FB. If someone rejects a friend request it could be taken personal by the rejectee. I think I would. Imagine you meet someone, a friend of a friend, hang out one day, and then friend them on FB only to have the request linger for days and weeks. You know they've been active on FB because you can see their activity. Then next time you see that person should you bring it up? If so how do you do it? What is the person rejecting the friend request going to do? How should they explain it to the person they're rejecting as politely as possible? No matter the explanation the friendship is most likely going to be strained a bit.

This goes on to my earlier posts about why I hate social networking sites. Now you can't just have a casual friend anymore, it has to become "official" on Facebook. Now almost every time you meet someone becoming friends on FB is standard procedure, like shaking hands. There will be more pressure I'm sure to make relationships official and public on FB too. Well FB might die off like the way MySpace did, although I think FB will be around for at least another 5 years reigning supreme.

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