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Friends? Really? My Take On Facebook Friendships
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Friends? Really? My Take on Facebook Friendships

I may not be the hippest Facebook user, but I have a few rules that I follow to keep from forgetting that the definition of “friend” is changing in this social media environment. The rules aren’t terribly strict, and I’m willing to reconsider each one as the entire landscape of Facebook changes. Here are just a few things that I keep in mind when I add you as a Friend.

#1 – Birthdays – If I wouldn’t send you a physical card in pre-Facebook days, you probably shouldn’t hold your breath to get a FB greeting from me. And, if you do get a “Happy Birthday”, it likely will be short and sweet – I know how many hundreds of friends are filling up your timeline with their good wishes, cute pictures, and greeting card apps. Also, you will likely never receive an “app” or “e-card” from me. Short and sweet. And, if you are lucky, you may even still receive an honest-to-goodness physical greeting card in your honest-to-goodness real mailbox.

#2 – You overshare – I don’t care. If you are a huge oversharer, I will likely drop you as a friend at some point. Unless I am drawn in, like a gawker at an accident scene. Please don’t post pictures of your bruised face after you allegedly tripped over the cat and fell down the stairs – we all know that you drink. Please don’t post every stop from your vacation road-trip and then wonder why your house was broken in to. Please don’t say that you are going to Urgent Care, and then not post for a week – I worry. And your really horrible boss or co-worker – are you sure that they aren’t reading your posts? And I feel for you when you post about your own stupidity – unless you are doing it in a funny, self-deprecating manner. Otherwise, it is just pathetic. The teen mother that is constantly begging for a babysitter. The desperate cries for help – to your Facebook “friends”? Really?

#3 – The privacy thing – I don’t want you, or anyone for that matter, to know exactly when I leave the house, where I am going, when I am returning, who I am talking to, etc. These are things that I may share with one or two people at a time, but likely won’t broadcast it to 100 “friends” – those 100 people are friends for different reasons, and not all of them are totally trustworthy, are they?

#4 – Don’t steal – plain and simple, if you can’t click “share” or credit the original author, artist, photographer, etc., I’m not going to be your friend for long. As an artist, photographer, and writer, I strongly believe that art, music, writing, and all creative works should not be shared without giving credit. Period. End of discussion.

#5 – Do you wonder why you are my friend? I don’t have over 100 at any one time. You are my Facebook friend if we are truly friends – you know what that means. You may also be my Facebook friend if I know you, and your posts are funny and/or relevant. You may be a friend if I’ve only known you for a short time – I’ll re-evaluate the “friendship” in awhile, and see if you continue to fit my criteria. (If we only met once, and would likely not recognize each other on the street – we’re probably not going to stay friends for very long in my book.) You might also fall into my “just in case” list – I won’t unfriend a relative, an old friend (unless I just can’t bear to read your posts on a regular basis), or someone that I am “stalking” – you know what they say about “keep your friends close and your enemies closer….”

I’m not the best Facebook friend or prolific poster. I like Facebook at times. I hate Facebook at times. I appreciate when we don’t see each other often, but I can still have a sense of what is going on in your life. I do hate it if you assume that I have read and committed to memory every post you have ever made. I’ve also found Facebook as a great way to connect and share/receive good news and bad news. A special honor, a heated community debate, or an untimely death – all of these can reach a huge audience of interconnected people, and “friends”. So, I guess I’ll keep at it for a bit. Just don’t be offended if I unfriend you. It’s personal.


Street Talk

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