Redefining "Friend"

I noticed something interesting today. “Friendships” have taken on a new meaning with the onset of social networking. Now, clearly this isn’t breaking news. Everyone knows that a “friend” on Facebook is not necessarily someone you even know. If you’ve ever played any of the Facebook app games like Battle Stations, you’ll notice that friends help you get ahead in the game. Playing that game caused an influx of 20-30 friend requests per day. Initially, I accepted them all with a Limited Profile limitation on them. Then I realized that was stupid, and I removed them all. Now I’m proud to say that my Facebook friends are only people I actually know and have spoken to, whether in person or online.

So why do I say that the definition changed? Well, today, I spoke for a while with an online acquaintance of mine. She had recently been hired by a gaming company, and we spent much of the day talking at random points about random things. I had known who she was before this job, and I had definitely taken a liking to her, but not until today did we actually speak one-on-one, instead of through a public forum. Anyways, tonight I received a friend request from her on Facebook. I accepted it without thinking twice, and before I realized what I was doing, I switched over to LinkedIn to see if she was there, and if I could add her there as well. It seems that we now have this duty to make sure that any form of social networking site we’re a part of knows that we’ve made a new friend. There’s no reason why I should have been jumping from site to site making sure my new friend was added on all of them. But somehow, I’ve now been trained to think that that’s the proper thing to do. It was a weird experience, that’s all.

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