Today when I sent a friend request on Facebook to a person, I was met by a dialog asking if we’re really friends.
This got me thinking about what their motivation for this might be, and my first thoughts were:
- This means a lot of people are using Facebook “wrong” in their eyes
- People have gotten tired of tons of friend requests (lucky them)
- Friend requests is not for making new friends – just nurture existing ones
- The definition seem to be that you have friends in real life, and digital is only an extension of that
- The person I sent a friend request to is someone fairly well-known on the tech scene, so maybe it’s some protection against that
Breaking this down:
Doing it wrong?
I both get friend requests from, and send requests to, people who I might not know personally (or in some cases, not at all). And in some cases, these have become the best friends. I’ve gotten to know so many great people and friends through the web/a digital medium – some who I’ve been lucky to then meet in person, some I still haven’t.
It also seems that Facebook has become a sort of Rolodex with connections for people, throughout their life. Almost everyone are on Facebook, some reluctantly, so it is more or less a de facto place to find people, friends long lost and more.
Nurture existing friends
I love making new friends and reconnecting with old ones alike! Given how Facebook begun, and how it has evolved, seems to be that it’s much more a platform of connecting new people than just a connection with close friends (actually, for me, some of my close friends and I have virtually no interaction on Facebook, but rather in other contexts).
And what’s really the definition of “know this person personally”, anyway? That we must have known each other five years? Or met 100 times? Got drunk together? Slept together?
People You May Know
It also doesn’t seem to rhyme well with their People You May Know feature, suggesting mutual friends and more. Sometimes it’s a match, but the majority of the time, they are complete strangers. Only connection is a possible mutual friend.
It could also be that I sent a friend request to someone fairly well-known on the tech scene, but we have 18 mutual friends so it would be fairly ok to assume we have some connection.
Seems to me that a possibility is that famous people have gotten tired of lots of friend requests so it’s a way to keep them in.
Just make friends
To me the Internet is amazing for making new friends, and staying in touch with old ones – especially if there are geographical reasons and similar behind you’re not being able to meet in person – so I’d encourage everyone to keep on using it just like that.
So, who is really your friend on Facebook? Anyone you want!