Tech & The Web

Well, You Both Live There…

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I think I enjoy Facebook a little too much.

It’s nice to keep in touch with the few people I actually I’m close to, and it’s even nice to be able to say hello or with a happy birthday to older friends I haven’t seen in years.  I guess, in some way, that’s keeping in touch, too, but not really.

Facebook is one of those social networking sites, for those who don’t know, and once you add someone as a friend, especially if you’re new to the program, it will suggest other people you may know.  One of the most reasonable ways it does this is through showing you the friends of the person you just added, as if to say, “Well, hey, Patrick, if you know Harold, then maybe you know Maude.”

(I don’t know Harold or Maude; it was just an example.)

If you join a local group, it will sometimes suggest people who also are members whom you may know.  And your friends can suggest people they think you know as well.

There are several ways to get your “friend” count up fairly quickly.  If you’re into that sort of thing.

One of the most amusing ways, though, is along the sidebar of your “dashboard” page, the page you see when you sign on that updates you on everyone who has left you a message or updated their status in one way or another.  Under “People You May Know,” there will be three photos and names.  In most cases, there is some justification for the system’s suggestion.  “Renee also went to _________ High School,” or “Paul is in the _____________ group as well.”

My favorite is, “Kyle also lives in Charleston.”

They say the world is getting smaller.  But there are more than 609,000 people who live in the Charleston metro area.  The world is not nearly so small that I know all of them.  I’m relatively confident that there are probably at least 608,800 of those folks that I don’t know at all.

I guess I could just “friend” them, anyway.  (In social networking sites, the word “friend” becomes a verb, unlike in real life, where having a friend requires being a friend.)  But I usually don’t, because I’d rather focus on people I actually know, or at least know of.

There are a lot of people who have thousands of friends on these kinds of sites.  Good for them.  I’m not sure what they do — probably nothing — to maintain thousands of friendships, but if they can make it work, more power to them.  It just seems to me that there’s a cheapening of the word friend in randomly “friending” anyone and everyone.  Maybe that’s just me.

Of the friends I have on my account, there are still well under a dozen that I’d really consider serious friends.  There are only three or four on that list that I feel like I could really count on at a truly critical moment.  That I know in my heart that I can trust to be there when I need them.

Just three or four.

That makes me very fortunate.

3 Comments

  1. I love facebook also and was introduced to it via my teen. I am very selective who my “friends” are. De 😉

  2. I love Fb too: cheap ‘n easy way to keep up with what people are doing, the people I don’t have time to actually communicate with. 😉

    I rarely check that feature (People You May Know). I’m not going to friend my friends’ friends (gahh!) just because I was introduced to them at a cookout in 2006. Weird, intrusive, and (as you said) it waters down the definition of “friend.”

    “Just”: I’m right there with you. What a blessing to “only” have more than zero, eh? 😀

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Patrick is a Christian with more than 30 years experience in professional writing, producing and marketing. His professional background also includes social media, reporting for broadcast television and the web, directing, videography and photography. He enjoys getting to know people over coffee and spending time with his dog.