Remember when you had to use good ol’ fashioned email to communicate with your friends? And you had to actually customize your messages to your friends?! Facebook has changed the way we socially interact with our network of friends. Lucky for me it’s my job to know the latest social marketing trends so “researching” online is perfectly legit as is building up my network of “friends”. I have 133 “friends” on Facebook. I’m actually shocked that I know more than 100 people. In the past week, I have accepted friend requests from a former co-worker, a high school friend, and someone I vaguely remember meeting at a house party a few weeks ago. To accept or not to accept the friend request? Well, it’s just polite etiquette to accept, right? What if I run into my cousin’s husband’s coworker again and I rejected his friend request? Can you imagine the horror?! But then what happens when you’re “facebook friend” wants to take it to the next level?
For example, take my high school friend…once I accepted the friend request, I perused her pictures and learned that she still lived in the city, was single, and has a cat. I loved finding out what she had been up to over the past 10 years. Other than that, there’s not much else I want or need to know. So when she started emailing me and asking me out for drinks, I discovered Facebook’s dirty little secret…what happens when you’re “facebook friend” wants to become real-life friends? Do you ignore their requests? They see you online, they know you’ve just updated your profile picture, they just read your latest post that you are going out on Friday night…now what?! We used to be able to ignore people’s phone calls or say “oops you’re email must have gone in my junk folder” but now that your network of “friends” can see everything you do via Facebook, you have inadvertently opened yourself up to being socially available all of the time.
How do we keep our friends in their neat little buckets – coworkers vs. neighbors vs. business colleagues vs. best friends? Thanks to Facebook, everyone is moshed together with the same classification of “friend”. Don’t even get me started on finding an ex on Facebook – it is like the modern equivalent of opening up pandora’s box. Until Facebook lets us categorize our friends into the A-list or the B-list or the ex-list, I’m going to set my facebook post to say “Tania is unavailable…” and get back to work.
Here are some articles that have inspired this post: