Friday, August 12, 2011

Facebook Friend of Foe?

In this age of social networking, how do you determine who is a "friend"? Do you accept "friend requests" from everyone? No one? Only people who are your close friends "offline"? Family? A week or so ago, I cleaned house on Facebook, the main social networking site I use. I took a look at my "friends" list and mentally put them into the following categories:

  • Entertaining/Interesting Friends: People I don't necessarily know very well, or haven't spoken to in a long time for whatever reason, but who I find funny or have interesting things to say
  • Online Friends: People who I've become close with through my blog or through Facebook and I consider them real friends - I care about what is going on in their lives, and they care about mine. We would totally hang out if we lived closer : )
  • Besties: People who I interact with in the "real" world on a regular basis and know what's going on in my life, even before I post it on Facebook or my blog
  • Family: Obviously, family. But also the friends that you or your husband have known for so long that they feel like family and are always in our hearts and automatically get a spot on your "friends" list no matter what
  • General Friends: People who you may have been close to at one point in time, or are an acquaintance. Most importantly - you are interested in what is happening in their lives, and they are interested in yours at a certain level. Because that's what social networking is all about, right? 
And then I got to thinking... do you have expectations of these different groups of "friends"? For example, I don't expect any interaction from my "Entertaining/Interesting" group. I basically just like having their funny one liners, thought provoking links, or general observations pop up on my "News Feed" each day. That is the extent of our relationship, and that is cool with me! As far as the categories of "Online Friends, Besties and Family", that is who I mostly post for... to maintain a consistent conversation through pictures, stories and updates. 

And as far as "General Friends" - well, they move in and out based on the subject matter. But I think there are certain times when that category needs to step it up... and that is during major life events. Engagements, weddings, pregnancies, births... these people (in my opinion) should at least "like" a photo or make a quick comment. Why? Because they are happy for you! Because something amazing just happened in your life, and it's only right to acknowledge it. Isn't it weird to be someone's "friend" - even only via a social network - and not acknowledge something awesome that just happened in their life? You look at their pictures. Read their status updates. But you can't take two seconds to share in their happiness when something awesome happens? I sure think so. And so I used the most recent amazing life event - the birth of Baby Deacon - to make some cuts. If someone who I think should have acknowledged his birth, but didn't, they got axed. Harsh? Maybe. But if they can't even acknowledge the birth of my son, then I certainly don't want them to have access to my photos or updates or life in general.

The rules of social networking are still being worked out. But I decided to take it upon myself to draw a line in the sand : ) Do you agree with my friend assessments and method of giving people the axe? Have you done the same? Let's discuss! Because... after all... you all are my friends : )