If you don’t know what “Friending” is, then you must not be on Facebook! Let me catch you up on this much debated topic.
The nuts & bolts: When you create a Facebook page, you search Facebook for all your friends and family members, and sometimes your co-workers and old friends you lost touch with, and your old classmates, etc. You are looking for people you know who might also have a Facebook page. When you find them, you send them a “Friend” request. They can “Friend” you, or they can “Ignore” you. Once they become a Friend, they have full access to your page, and whenever you post anything to your page (comments, pictures, website links, notes, etc) they receive a notification on their “wall”.
It’s a great way to keep in touch, share your current life experiences, so that when you run into these people in real life, you know what’s going on in their life and you have topics of conversation.
Some people Friend everyone they have ever known or met.
Some people only Friend actual and true-life Friends. Only the people that they keep in touch with today outside of Facebook.
Some people accept Friend requests from friends of Friends…and people they don’t know.
My policy? First off, I only accept Friend requests from people I actually know, or knew. I have grade school classmates, high school classmates, co-workers from former jobs (Centerville, FCNB), neighbors, my actual friends (and sometimes their kids even!), some of my daycare families, soccer and baseball parents, and even a few of Jim’s old friends and co-workers.
Usually what happens is I accept a Friend Request and we spend a couple days reconnecting and catching up- it’s quite fun! But as time goes by, if we don’t maintain any communication or connect outside of Facebook, then I (gasp!) UN-FRIEND them.
This is where it becomes a debated topic. I know people who will never un-Friend anyone because they don’t want to hurt their feelings. Instead, they “hide” them so they no longer see that person’s posts.
I look at it as a security thing, though. By keeping a close circle of friends, one can be more honest with their postings. But if you don’t know every single person as well as you know your own sister or brother…then, well, you could be opening yourself up to risk.
For example, if I post something like “Soccer game tonight at 6pm at the Water District- we’ll all be there!” I’m also saying, “Our house is empty for an hour around 6pm”.
I talk to other people about this concern, and most people don’t worry about it. They say all their Facebook friends are true friends. They wouldn’t rob their house.
Well, I’d like to think that, too. But really, how often do you hear on the news of a rapist or murderer whose neighbors say, “I had no idea! He seemed soooo nice!” True story: someone a few blocks over ended up sexually assaulting their own child and recording video and pictures for child pornography websites. Some of the neighbor kids were spending the night over there and playing with those kids, and the gal was even doing daycare for another neighbor. The girl was in Riley’s class at school! The neighborhood parents had NO IDEA until the police showed up at their door. So can you trust everyone you know? No.
There ARE risks to having a lot of Friends on Facebook. Even with all the privacy settings in place, you can go to any of your Friends’ pages and click on any line that says, “(name) wrote on (name’s) wall” and see exactly what your Friend wrote on that person’s page. You won’t have full-access to their friend, but you CAN see what they wrote. Scary.
So if I write, “Having a blast in Disneyland” on my wall…and Joe Schmoe writes, “Glad you are having a good time”…EVERY SINGLE ONE OF JOE’S FRIENDS can see that posting and now they know that someone named Elisa Buckley is on vacation. Facebook is NOT secure.
That’s a whole ‘nother issue though. Let’s get back to “Friends”.
I have Friended people, figured out that the life they live now is nothing I want a part of, and I un-friended them. Like an old high school acquaintance who is now an unemployed twice divorced dad who mostly bragged about not paying child support and getting drunk and much of the time the posts included profanity as well. Un-friend. I don’t need that kind of negativity cluttering my Facebook wall. It might be his true life, and I feel sorry for that, but I don’t want it to be part of my life.
Another person I un-Friended was someone I went to jschool with, who rarely posted anything other than how her son had a nasty cold, again and again. Boring. She never commented on any of my postings and she never shared much of what was going on in her life. We weren’t really “friends” in school and in the past 19 years I’ve never run into her. I won’t be seeing her at my High School Reunion because we went to different schools. There was just no connection. In the real world, we are not friends. Un-friend.
Does that sound mean?
It’s not like you receive a notification that you’ve been dropped. Most likely you just notice one day that you are no longer receiving any comments or updates from that person. Or you have a mutual friend who might comment one day, “Hey, did you see what Elisa put on FB?” and they go home and check and… oops! We’re not Friends anymore. How’d that happen?
It’s almost high-school-ish. Will I be offended if someone drops me as their Facebook Friend? No. It’s probably a case of A) We’re not really friends or B) They are annoyed at how frequently I post on Facebook! I try to keep it real. It’s easy to get caught up in Facebook Fantasyland, but it’s the REAL life you need to focus on.
I’ll admit that I do keep a few “friends” who I’m not really “friends” with in real life, but I find their posts entertaining and I enjoy the comments they put on my posts. It’s a social website, remember? And as a Stay/Work-At-Home-Mom without any adult interaction or social outlets during the daytime, I NEED Facebook. I’ve become friends with people I went to school with- and we weren’t “friends” back then, just acquaintances, and through Facebook we’ve learned we have a lot in common and enjoy reading each other’s posts. I look forward to seeing these people at my High School Reunion, or running into them at the store or maybe we can catch a coffee together or something.
So in a nutshell, if you are reading this, and you are a Facebook friend of mine, keep it up! I enjoy reading everyone’s posts and website links and seeing their family pictures. I enjoy catching up with people and I enjoy the interaction. I love it when people comment on my stuff, or respond to my sometimes-strange questions.
And if for some reason down the road you find yourself “Un-friended”…send me another Friend Request! And this time let’s connect on a more personal level!