Thursday, February 26, 2009

Social networks- how well do you really want to know me?

I am sure that I am not the first person to ponder the concept of a Facebook "friend", and come to the conclusion that they are really "acquaintances". I've seen Facebook and MySpace pages with hundreds, even thousands, of "friends" and let's be honest-

No one has hundreds of real friends.

We have piles of acquaintances.

Don't get me wrong- I enjoy my acquaintances. I just don't like the usage of the term "friend" on social networks. I think of "Friends" as the traditional form of friend- people who I try to get together with on some regular basis, albeit infrequently. People I want to spend time with in person. People who get put on the calendar, even if it is only once a year. They are Friends with a capital "F". My point is, my Friends don't need Facebook to find out what is happening in my personal life. If you are close enough to me to wonder about what's up in my personal life, please e-mail me or let's chat in one of our occasional face to face social moments--you already know that I am not a phone person.

Maybe it is different for other people, but beyond my Friends, most people who send me Facebook requests are acquaintances, or "friends" (little "f"). I know that to them, I am an acquaintance, someone they know, a friend of a friend. Sadly, I know less about them and I have seen less of them in the last year than the people who work at the local Target, PCC Natural Market and restaurants.

Come to think of it, if I am going to keep up with MyFaceAcquaintanceBook, THOSE are also the people I should connect with. I have no problem adding far-flung friend/acquaintances to my broader network, but in this era of expanding to a global life, and knowing people in cyberspace, I particularly feel the need to reach out locally, too. I eat predominantly local organic food (although I do slum at fast food drive-ins and such when the schedule is tight), I buy books from small local retailers, only resorting to the large ones when I can't find something (but hey, at least Amazon is a local business for me), and my spouse works in a local bank where clients are known by names, not numbers, and they can see bank employees face to face just by walking into their local branch (no caveats here, it's true!).

Why not friend locally, too? You know, like that old Sesame Street song: "Who are the the people in your neighborhood?" The nice lady at The French Bakery who always puts something extra in the pastry box. The smiling octogenarian in the fast food lane who hands me my bag of naughtiness and waves. The postal carrier with the slicked-back 1950's greaser do and the cool leather cuffs with metal spikes. These are the peeps I should get to know better--they already know more about me than my Friends -like I use those 40%-off and monthly 10%-off coupons religiously, I usually order the Baja combo with extra tortillas, and that I prefer Kleenex brand tissues. If you are one of the people in my new "friending" experiment, welcome!

So, I will add people to my lists, Friends and friends alike, but keep in mind that I feel terrible sending out uninteresting info about myself. I'm just not conceited enough to think that someone cares if I tweet that I am in line to have my tires rotated or debating over the advantages of velcro over duct tape, so I won't do personal stuff very often.

I WILL, however, tell people what is going on in my professional life, and some of that may include all sorts of strange tangential personal things, like learning all about jazz, or carpet sharks, or the name of the angel responsible for teaching mankind about root-cutting. Friend or friend, you'll get to know me better. I'll usually save this sort of detail for my blogs, but you will hear me tweet or post on Facebook the next time I have news to say, like "Sold yet another book to giant New York publishing house. Yawn. hope it does as well as my last best-seller."

Well, I am a fiction writer, after all...

No comments:

Post a Comment