Why We Can't Be Friends on Facebook

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Why can't we be friends, why can't we be friends.....
Something interesting happened when social media started bearing down on us a few years back. We began to yearn for friends, and not the kind that you can call up on a Tuesday night for a bull session at the bar, or someone to watch your puppy when you leave town. Friends became not so much players in the story of your life, but followers in the saga that is you. Viewers of your personal sitcom.

I was raised to be a people person, believe it or not. I come from a long line of people who used to get conduct marks for talking too much in class and trying to entertain a captive crowd at the lunch table. We smile and start conversations with people we see in social situations, and so it wasn't a hard leap into social media.

Social media has allowed people not to collect friendships, the kind that you hold dear to your heart, but names and pictures to prove that you matter. A stranger surfing your Facebook or Twitter page may see a high number of followers or friends one of two ways: At best, this person is influential, worth listening to, and a lovable people person blah blah blah. Or they see you as a shill, a whore, and not a social butterfly, but a social mosquito, sucking the blood out of everyone you add or follow.

It's hard to discern the two until you push the button and allow this new person into your virtual life.

Personally, I get a lot of Facebook friend requests from people who probably just see my name on a blog or on a mutual friend's profile wall and get add-happy. That's cool by me, I do it too within reason. I still see it as a virtual knock on someone's door to attempt to add myself to their life.

At its worst, it's folks who are only out to befriend you to sell you something or feed you information about their artistic enterprise, and continually hound you until you delete them.

"I don't add people on Facebook if I don't personally know them. Since Facebook is a network that requires a reciprocal relationship, I direct people who I don't know personally to my company fan page or my Twitter account," says Monica Danna, Founder and CEO at local PR firm colab.

I came to the realization that maybe I didn't want rank strangers to see pictures of me visiting my grandmother in the nursing home, or hearing about my weekend plans at the gun range with my family, so I started cutting out being so open. As for my Twitter account, only about 25 percent of that is real anyway, and the rest is invented in my head while I drive.

In a lot of instances, a friend from another social media outlet like Twitter will take the next step and attempt to add you on Facebook, to get another facet of the "you" experience. It's something that freelance public relations rep Candace Kizer deals with too.

"If it's a person I know from Twitter, I still look at whether or not we actually communicate regularly and whether I'm willing to let them into my personal life, like family stuff," she says.

"When I was trying to promote a bar, I was willing to accept pretty much anyone in Houston. I now use number of mutual friends as a filter. I spend more time weeding out people now. If you post spam on my wall, you are gone. Too many posts with no substance, gone," said local management consultant Alexander Flenner, who has had years of experience inside the social media revolution.

The more people that "know" you in a public forum, the more they will think you owe it to them to let them enter your private life. Along our social media journey, we lost what was personal and private in lieu of creating our own mini media empires. LinkedIn, Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, Google, all of it acts as a conduit to broadcast your own personal channel.

I guess the basic rule that one should go by is that if you have never met this person eye to eye, spoken to, drank with, shared a giggle, or shared blood with, think twice, maybe thrice, about welcoming them aboard. Too many times I have posted something that was familial, only to have people I have no connection with in the physical realm slag it, which is confusing to everyone else and a tad demeaning.

Then you sit back and wonder why you ever clicked "Confirm." Was it because I was feeling unpopular that day and needed validation of my existence?

Probably...


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12 comments
Zoomp81
Zoomp81

I find it sad. Now you can only friend request people that you already know? I thought the point of social media sites were to meet people you have never met? Or at least catch up with people you haven't seen in a while. If I only kept the friends on my facebook that I actually know or see often, my friends list would be significantly lower. I find it funny how people on this site talk about stalkers and how people post "unimportant" updates and need to get a life. Talk about narcissistic hypocrisy!

Hemorrhoidcules
Hemorrhoidcules

Wow, I'm obviously not taking facebook seriously enough.

JasonoftheSea
JasonoftheSea

Shortly after I joined FB a dude I went to high school with friended me, then sent me a "Hi, how are you" message that ended in a sales pitch because I guess he saw on my profile what I do. I didn't reply to his message, just un-friended him. He was a nice guy, too.

Johnatrisk
Johnatrisk

"I joined facebook for one reason and one reason only...to make sure that none of my ex-girlfriends were living more fulfilling lives than me..."

Funniest thing about this topic ever.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Guest
Guest

When I first joined Facebook, it was at the encouragement of a friend of mine to catch up with old high school classmates. 20 something years out of highschool....I've dropped or been dropped from a lot of those people as I never stayed on the prim and proper Christian path they chose. Sorry - I have a big mouth for a reason....God wants me to use it to the best of my abilities.

The longer I've been on Facebook - my 'Friends' list has been curtailed to more of my actual friends....friends of my husbands...band friends of ours and so on. Very few that I don't actually know directly or indirectly. There are a few of my high school friends that haven't been so disgusted by my whorish mouth and open ideals of my beliefs.... I've learned to keep my shiz private due to the moron factory we call life...other than that I like Facebook for keeping in touch, watching my kids on theirs with their friends and giving us all a soapbox to stand on....even when no one wants to listen. :)

Jonathan R. Cohen
Jonathan R. Cohen

Anyone who puts the lotion in the basket, is a friend of mine.

Craig
Craig

Facebook is the Dr. Phil for stupid people. They all need therapy but simply can't afford it, so they share their grief with the world.

PRINT IT

Katy
Katy

It seems like people try to “brand” themselves online with their updates and insights – become a sort of personality/soap opera.

But having strangers stalk you isn’t as flattering as it might sound.

Speaking of which: Where did you buy those great jeans you’re wearing right now, Craig? I can’t read the brand through these binoculars…

DarrinSearancke
DarrinSearancke

This was a recent post I make on my FaceBook page, which received a lot of likes. "Seriously, unless we got drunk together, share similar musical tastes, were fetchin' room mates, got drunk together, DJ'd together, played sport together, got drunk together, traveled together, danced in a drug-filled haze together, ... erm ... drank together - then guess what? We're are not Facebook Friends."

Guest
Guest

Loved that video! And it's so true. There are some people I'd rather not see in real life as well as Facebook. lol

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