Are we friends on Facebook yet?

March 9, 2009 at 9:24 AM 7 comments

Are we friends on Facebook yet?

the_facebookNo? Well, before you head to the famous social networking site, keep reading. I wouldn’t want you to be surprised when your request for Facebook friendZship is denied.

As a member of Generation Y, I’m part of the crowd that Facebook “grew up” with. When I first created a profile on the site in the fall of 2004, Zuckerberg’s brain-child was still in its infancy (and it was still located at Thefacebook.com). It was a place for college students to connect with all of the new friends they were making, and for me, a tool to help remember people’s names.

Since then, Facebook has continued to evolve into a place to connect with people through pictures, posting and periodic updates for millions of users worldwide. By adding and improving features and removing the initial restriction to users with .edu email addresses, Facebook has become an undeniable force in the Web 2.0 world. It spurred so much controversy in Egypt, in fact, that it made international news.

So, what’s my beef? Why the ‘tude of this post and the warning about Facebook friend requests?

FonzieFirst off, I’m not some sort of Facebook Fonzie, looking to protect my “cool” online image. I just have standards.

As I continue to get more involved with social media applications, I’ve started to analyze my use of different sites to line-up with my own unwritten “objectives” for online self-promotion. I’ve shared some of my thoughts on Twitter, and tend to agree with My Old Man on LinkedIn. But to me, Facebook is different.

Call me old fashioned, but I think FACEbook should be saved for people I‘ve actually met FACE to FACE. The site enables me to stay in contact with real friends across the globe. Better than any other medium, it’s helped me maintain friendships with people that I may not see or talk to more than a couple of times a year.

So I ask: Why would I want to muck that up with a bunch of people I met on Twitter who I know solely by a 48 square-pixel image and the occasional 140-character update?

To clarify, I love my Twitter community and wouldn’t trade it for the world. Heck, I even said I’d give up Facebook for Twitter if I had to make the choice. But that doesn’t mean I want a bunch of people I barley know connecting to my most intimate of online information. And on the flip side, I’m not sure I want access to their info!

From my experience, the folks in my generation are with me on this (with the exception of a few aspiring SM gurus). I’ve heard numerous conversations about how well you should know a person before “friending them on Facebook,” and it’s fairly well known that a blind Facebook friend request is just plain creepy.

But maybe we’re all missing out on something? I know everyone uses SM differently, and that’s the beauty of it. You reap what you sow. If you put a “Facebook Me!” link on your blog page, you’re gonna have a few Friendz you don’t know so well. That’s just not me.

I’m curious though: How do you use Facebook? Has it worked out for you? Let me know via comments below.

Oh, and if you’re thinking about testing me by sending me a Facebook friend request, don’t expect me to budge on my standards. If we haven’t met F2F, and you can’t fight that urge to connect, try following me on Twitter.

*First image courtesy of urlesque.com

*Second image courtesy of wikipedia.org

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I taught I taw a putty tat The Social Media Involvement Pyramid

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Ruth Seeley  |  March 9, 2009 at 1:14 PM

    I connect with people I haven’t actually met on Facebook, flickr, and Twitter. The discourse is different in all three places. Someone I maintain a professional relationship with on Twitter can also be someone on whose Facebook stream I feel free to post a recipe. And I disagree with your dad about LinkedIn as well. 🙂 But I left that comment on HIS blog. LinkedIn is the one place I tend not to connect with people I haven’t met – or at least spoken to on the phone – or emailed – or with whom I haven’t considered doing business.

    I’m still intrigued by the multi-generational blogging notion. Of course I’m also quite entranced by the mother/daughter teams in my quilting class. 🙂

  • 2. Chris  |  March 10, 2009 at 1:10 PM

    Thanks for your input, Ruth. As I extend myself further into the professional world I’m starting to see more and more value in LinkedIn. Your comment along with many others on the Tough Sledding post point out a number of great ways to use the site — valuable information for young professionals like myself.

    I’ve been talking with more Gen Y folks since writing this post, and the general consensus seems to be that they want FB to be their social-networking site and LI to be their professional-networking site. Not really sure how long this separation can last, but the blurring line between social and professional lives is another can of worms.

    Thanks again for your contribution.

  • 3. Rebecca  |  March 11, 2009 at 9:11 PM

    Hi Chris,

    I laughed out loud (literally) as I read this post for two reasons:

    1. We became friends on Facebook today.
    2. It brought back memories of blind Facebook friend requests I’ve received in the past.

    Sure, social media networks have changed the way members of our generation connect with one another. You can establish a relationship with someone across the globe without F2F contact.

    However, I have to agree: Nothing’s creepier than having someone you’ve never met comment on your pictures as if you’ve been best friends for years.

    This post reminded me of some of the differences between Twitter and Facebook. I sometimes feel overwhelmed by all my social networks, but you reminded me that each has a different personality and purpose.

    Thanks!

    Rebecca
    http://coffeehour.wordpress.com

    P.S. I primarily use Facebook to stay in touch with my best friends from high school. My friends are scattered throughout Northeast Ohio, and Facebook allows us to reconnect with one another and stay in touch despite our hectic schedules.

  • […] his “GenY” view, check out his post titled, “Are we friends on Facebook yet?” (That title spoofs a line often seen on […]

  • 5. The Social Media Involvement Pyramid « Steele Headed  |  March 18, 2009 at 10:34 PM

    […] But enough of my mockery. Truth-be-told, I like this diagram and would love to see more research regarding the use of social media. Shoot, it’s research like this that gives PR professionals an excuse for wasting half their time on sites like Twitter and Facebook! […]

  • […] keeping up with my friends on Facebook and FriendZ on Twitter (more on the *Z in this post), I found myself jumping from laptop to desktop and back throughout the day just to keep up with […]

  • […] no secret that I’m (overly) active on my Twitter page, and spend a bit of time on Facebook.  Since my last Steele Headed post, I also started up a Posterous page, played around with […]

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