Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Book of Many Faces

I enjoy Facebook a lot. When I initially signed on I had an infatuation with it which lasted several weeks and then died down. Then for a long while I was rather indifferent to it until recently when I realized how great it is as a closely-knit community forum. I especially like that I can get to know people a lot better -- people I consider friends but most of whom I've never actually met.

It's also an interesting study in human behavior, especially the rationale for friending someone. Or unfriending.
“If someone with more than 1,000 friends unfriends me, I get offended,” said Greg Atwan, an author of “The Facebook Book,” a satirical guide. “But if someone only has 100 friends, you understand they’re trying to limit it to their intimates.”

Mr. Atwan, a recent graduate of Harvard (where Facebook got its start), recommends culling your friend list once a year to remove total strangers and other hangers-on. Keeping your numbers down gives you more leeway to be selective about whom you approve in the first place, he said.

All of my friend requests recently have come from people I know personally, or know via blogging. Earlier I had a few from people I don't know at all. One of two are active in the local Austin music scene who apparently were friending anyone who appeared to have a taste for music. And there are a couple who did the same for anyone with a taste for blogging, even though I have no idea how they found me.... probably from my comments at large blogs.

I don't recall if I have ever unfriended anyone. Because I believe Facebook is not only a source of entertainment and keeping track of people you know, it's also a networking tool, and you never know when some obscure person in your list of friends might someday have a useful bit of advice, or share a piece of useful information, etc.

And yet, at the same time, I find myself somewhat annoyed when I see a "friend's" icon in my list and say to myself, "I don't have a clue why that person friended me."

Interestingly enough, there was a time when I really wanted my Facebook friends to be people I only knew through blogging, not people with whom I grew up, went to school, worked, or just met in life. Putting yourself "out there" on Facebook inevitably results in people finding you whether you want them or not. Once in awhile I get a request from someone I personally know or have known, and my gut instinct is to just start another Facebook page under the name konagod, and shut mine down completely! But I add them. Usually after an initial flurry of the inevitable hiya doin's, they drift on quietly, leaving behind an icon to mark their spot.

All of this is leading up to a very simple Question of the Day:

Have you ever unfriended anyone, and what was your rationale? And also if you just never accepted a friend request from someone for whatever reason.

No comments: