I’m going to stick on the topic of Facebook today.
I think that one of the biggest dilemmas that come with social networking, and particularly Facebook, is when you decide that you are good enough friends in real life, that it is okay to become Facebook friends?
It’s funny because you’d think that it would be the other way around. You’d think that you would become Facebook friends first, because it is much more impersonal. But the truth is, you have to know somebody well enough in real life before it becomes acceptable to Facebook friend them.
Whenever I click on somebody’s page and see that they have 1,000+ friends, it really pisses me off. Because I know that there is no way that you legitimately know 1,000 people. I have something like 370 friends, and I can still guarantee that I have more friends than you.
My rule of thumb for friending people is that if we are friends in real life, we can be friends on Facebook. Because by friending people, you are inviting them to see the deeper parts of your personality, and I don’t want them to see that unless we are actually friends.
I don’t ever friend people after one encounter, and I don’t ever friend people after we’ve just hung out one time. We have to be legitimate friends who actually will see each other and hang out every so often. Only then will I Facebook friend you. Sure, if you want to friend me first after one encounter, I’ll accept. I’m not that exclusive. However, I do have a little higher standards and I feel like people actually need to earn my Facebook friendship.
So when I see people who have 1,000 friends, it obviously tells me that they friend pretty much anybody they come across. I personally think this is a terrible idea, because then how do you distinguish between friends? If you’re going to Facebook friend your childhood buddy from first grade, and on the same day, Facebook friend some dude you randomly had a conversation with on the subway, then where’s the distinction?
Honestly, I don’t really see what the benefit of having an exorbitant amount of Facebook friends is. All it does is invite them to see how annoying that you really are.
Although, I will admit, that every now and then I have been known to friend an attractive female that I recently met while I was out. Because, let’s face it, what do I have to lose? I’ll probably never see them again. It’s probably creepy that I specifically looked them up and found them without knowing their full name, but, whatever.
Also, another trend I’ve realized is the act of Facebook friending people while you are still at the bar. Sometimes, you’ll have a dialogue with someone, and one of you will make the joke, “Oh man, we need to be Facebook friends now!” Well, in the age of smart phones, that can be performed in a matter of seconds. And just like that, you’ve made the social networking bond.
But I think that people really need to have some standards when it comes to Facebook friending. Like I said, I have 370 Facebook friends. If I made an effort to add more people who I interact with in real life, then I could have a hell of a lot more. But of those 370ish friends, I’d say that at least 200 of them are people who I genuinely associate with in real life. That’s a 54% ratio.
Whereas those people with 1,000 friends, I bet they’re not genuinely friends with even 50 of them. That would be a 5% ratio.
That math could not be more arbitrary and more unproven, but I stand by it.
But in conclusion, if you ever get the Facebook friend nod from be, be honored.
It means you’ve earned it.