So anyway...

accepting someone before they become your "friend" is a basic principle of "social networking". Sites like Facebook, MySpace or Twitter rely on this. It is an important principle that, aware of it or not, is the key to what makes these sites work and what makes them very popular.

So, you're online, what's your standard for accepting friends? Is your online acceptance equivalent to how you accept people in real life? No? Yes? I'm curious.


Mike said...

I don't consider Twitter followers/ees to be friends, but I do block obvious automated links from corporations and dull self-promoters. Entertaining self-promoters is another matter.

With Facebook I'm much more careful. I don't accept random friend requests, and I have a special Facebook group for people that I've never met. Every month or two I scan that list to see if I'm actually interacting with that person or value the insight I have into their lives. If not, then I simply remove them, no regrets.

There's a handful of people I know in real life that I deleted from my Facebook network as they spammed me too much and ignored my polite requests to leave it off. They're always welcome to reapply :-)

Darth Gateau said...

I too have a regular cull of friends on Facebook every few months.

If I don't know them, then it's unlikely I'll accept their request - unless they're truly stunning to behold, then I'll shallowly accept, play with them like a cat plays with a mouse before dispatching them in a regular cull weeks later.

If it's someone I know, I actually have to like them to accept the request or it's just an empty gesture.

Too fickle?

Tom said...

As Mike said not all twitterers are friends.... the odd one I've met, most I "know" through blogs etc, and some are randoms who follow me so I follow back. People who follow me just because I said iPhone or some other buzzword get blocked.

Facebook is restricted to people I actually know in real life.

Mike said...

There are a substantial number of profiles on Facebook that are fake, usually with a gorgeous photo to tempt the unwary into friendship.

Fake friend can then siphon off a lot of private information about you if you are careless.

Tom Cat from Bondi Beach said...

yes the whole social network phenomenon is still in its infancy I guess. I find twitter largely silly. Facebook quite interesting but it is really blogs which really give you an insight into people's lives. For eg. Mike's Blog of his travels around Europe with his dog Bondi & Darth's blog of life in England and now the Middle East and Tom's blog of re-skilling from banking into catering & lifesaving have made me ponder my life on many levels : tho I have not met any of them and probably never will - so we are not friends. Nevertheless may be being a 'cyber acquaintance' is a new friendship category.

Tho I accept that it is a one - way acquaintanceship ... as I do not blog as my life is so dull / repetitious... tho I do occasionally comment. :)

Tom said...

TomCat... First off who are you calling a Banker! That's Monty, not me! You need to use twitter and have a few updates before it starts to make sense. It works on different levels for different people, but once you reach a critical mass of interesting people you follow it will make sense to you. Twitter is definitely a two way street though! :p

Mike said...

Twitter is a weird blend of Facebook and blog interactions. I usually find that comment threads are where the action is, and Twitter simply uses a different starting point for interactions.

I play around with the Twinkle client on the iPhone which gives location aware tweets, and that can be an interesting way to pin cyberspace and meatspace together.

With respect to real-world friends, I find that having lived and worked on 3 continents in the last decade, I have friends smeared across the globe. Being able to reach out and keep our cyber-fingers touching is a nice way to hold onto a relationship which only gets to be face-to-face every few years.

I've had "chat friends" on gaydar for about 5 years, many of which I've migrated to Facebook. I've met some in my travels; some locals I've met as recently as last month.

I file most of these people somewhere between acquaintances and friends. That's probably one reason why I cull my FB lists - cyber acquaintances are hard to sustain without a common focus or occasional f2f interaction.

The biggest challenge of all seems to be sustaining f2f friendships in Sydney. It's much harder here than in other cities/countries I've lived in. Trying to pin someone down even for a cup of coffee seems to be a logistical nightmare.