She’s my friend — I mean, my friend on Facebook. Admit it, there’s a difference. It was a stroke of genius to call them “friends” versus connections or contacts. By using this specific word, Facebook changed how we interact and who we think of as “friends.” My mom is my friend on Facebook as is my BFF from college and the person I met at that networking event yesterday. Although we know that there is a difference in the depth and intimacy of these relationships, all three have equal access to my wall, to pictures/videos of my kids, and anything else I choose to share with my so called Friends (Only).
I met my dad’s best friend’s daughter one weekend and on Monday, I got a friend request from her. Pre-Facebook, I could have gone the rest of my life without ever seeing her again. But now, I get to see her every day and I know who she’s dating and where she’s vacationing. On the flip side, she gets to see my kids’ latest art projects and knows that my dog just died.
I supposed I could have ignored her friend request since technically, we’re not “friends.” But I didn’t want to be rude! I can already hear her thinking, “Hmmf. You don’t want me to be your friend?!” And I can already see the email from my dad asking, “Did you get Alex’s friend request?” That example, although real, is of little consequence. But how could you not accept a friend request from let’s say, your boss’s wife. Or, your accountant… even though you may not necessarily want them to know what you made for dinner last night or what you did over the weekend.
And at some point, don’t you lose track of who you’ve “friended?” C’mon, I’ll post a joke on my wall with a certain audience in mind: my sisters, my girlfriends, etc. and then get a Like from… my daughter’s school principal. Oh yeah, he’s my friend too. *Blushing*
None of these scenarios are necessarily criticisms. Don’t get me wrong — I love me some Facebook. But one could argue that with this one move — the strategic use of an emotionally charged word, Facebook wields a certain power over us humans with our need for belonging and acceptance.
Oh yeah… my dad is now friends with my mom’s daughter from her second husband (my half-sister). Um, they are SO NOT friends!
photo credit: stock x.chng