19 October 2009

100 Issues for 100 Days: #63

#63: Facebook "Friends"

In this day and age, technology has led to a whole slew of idiosyncrasies and awkward moments. I find that I'm reading a lot of "What to do when (Blank) Friends You" or "How to Defriend a Friend" articles.

I would classify myself as a Facebook snob. I'm very choosy about who I friend, usually reserving the honor for close friends or those who are farther away who I definitely want to hear from. I also make concessions for those who I may not be emotional close to but people who live near me.

Since I'm a teacher, I never accept friend requests from current students and I only for former students, I have a strict over-18 policy (and even then I restrict what they can and cannot see).

But the two places where I run into problems are family and co-workers. There are some co-workers I socialize with outside of school but that doesn't mean I want them to see when I update my status to "I think I'm going to kill someone's child" (a fairly common status update btw). And then there are those whom I maintain a friendly rapport with at work but I don't plan on socializing with at all. So those requests tend to languish on my request page.

Then there's the sad truth that not everyone in my family is my "friend". Or at least not in the virtual world. Although my mom and I drink together, go out on occasion and truly enjoy each other's company, I do not want to have to explain why my status is "dry as the Sahara" or "feeling blue today". Unfortunately, I had to defriend my mom, a move that resulted in a lot of wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth. Ironically, now my grandmother has friended my mom and she finds herself in the same position.

I think Facebook is one of the best social networking sites ever but I think people need to realize that not every relationship is Facebook worthy. My friends who were "phone friends" are still that. And family is always best regulated through caller ID. People need to realize that denying a Facebook friend is not denying that person. Just that form of communication.

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