Sunday, August 23, 2009

Facebook, Friends and Etiquette

I've been working this post around in my head for awhile, trying to keep everything I wanted to say in some sort of order. (Hey! There's a new concept!) Beware, I might offend some of you, but it doesn't mean that I don't love you!

Facebook. What is it exactly? These days, I find that it's not much more than a bigger version of Twitter. For some, the status updates are constant. And frankly, boring. Once, maybe twice a day is all I really need to see. The games--don't want to get into those, other than that they seem like a major time suck. And FarmVille and YoVille and Mafia Wars?? Are you kidding me? I mean, I have no life myself, but I'm not going to spend hours online trying to find out whose cow has wandered into my pasture. And don't expect me to send flowers or gifts or drinks or whathaveyou. I'm not going to get sucked in!

I think we've all pretty much found out that FB is sort of the "real-life" side of ourselves online. We include our names, our schools, our relative's names, our phone numbers, and pictures that we'd never dare put up on our blogs. Frankly, I like that. While some people still tie FB to their blogs, I prefer to keep mine separate. As do most, I believe. One particular HNTer went into panic mode on Friday because there were six people who landed on her HNT this week, referred from FB! While I think that particular situation was found to be harmless and accidental, can you imagine the freak-out if you found links to your blog from your hometown, referred from FB??

Which brings up a point...who do you allow to be friends on FB? Do you avoid friending those you know from blogging? Or those who do HNTs? I find myself in an odd position at the moment. I have sent out friend requests to a number of HNTers, and don't get okay'ed. And actually, I'm fine with that. I understand that they might think there's a risk of a mention about HNT, or Osbasso, and that theoretically, as in the case above, 2+2-3+7±5=you've been found out. At least that's the way I'm calling it, because I don't want to think that someone doesn't want to be my FB friend.

HOWEVER...I currently have 20 requests waiting for me to add as friends. Of those 20:
  • SEVEN are from people I don't know. Actually 8, because one guy has requested twice!
  • TWO are from people who are related in some way to current friends, but I don't know.
  • SEVEN are from people I recognize as bloggers, but don't interact with through my blogs--why would I add them here?
  • TWO are real life contacts, one of whom I'll probably add.
  • ONE is someone who was a student where I first taught, but not one of my students.
Am I keeping these people in limbo? Isn't there a statute of limitations for how long a friend request stays attached? Actually, of the seven I don't know, a few of them list some of you as common friends. I suppose I could ask you about them. And there's a couple that look like they could be HNTers, but I don't recognize their real names or faces. So if you recognize yourselves in my description, let me know who you are!

Finally, what is the etiquette for "un-friending"? This was more of a problem on MySpace, where my friends count yo-yo'ed on a weekly basis. Shouldn't you or FB tell you that so-and-so has un-friended you? It's a bugger trying to go through and figure out who dumped you, and then try to figure out why! I know that recently, some people have done the un-friending thing because their real-life/blogger-life/FB-life were getting dangerously close to colliding. And for the most part, I believe that they had the courtesy to let the un-friends know about it and why. But shouldn't that be the norm in a polite society??

I'll keep on using FB, as I find that it does satisfy that need to know the other side of a person.
And because I do have four relatives as friends.
As well as eight former students from my first teaching job.
And one former student from the last high school I taught at.
And eleven former students from my college teaching days.
And three musicians I play with in the symphony (well, two now, because one was killed--do I un-friend him??).
And because someday I might really want to know "What Pin-Up Girl" I am!

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