Thursday, January 6, 2011

Friends on Facebook?

I reckon there are several different types of ‘friends’ that people have on Facebook.
The first type are those that you have never met, will never meet, have nothing in common with, have never spoken to, will never speak to, have no work connection with – these are the ‘friends’ that you agree to be friends with because maybe you want people to see that you have loads of friends. These are the ‘friends’ who make it their daily goal to have as many ‘friends’ as possible. These are non friends!

The next group of friends are those that maybe you have a loose tenuous connection with through a common interest – maybe it’s politics or the x factor, maybe it’s the Apprentice or something else like that. These ‘friends’ are people who have posted comments on a page that you LIKE and you have responded and then somehow you have ended up as ‘friends’. These are another group of ‘non friends’.

Next up we have the ‘friends’ that you know through work or clubs and societies that you may be involved with. It is likely that out of this category you may have one or two actual real friends that translate into real life. The rest I am afraid are ‘non friends’.

The school ‘friends’ who have re-connected with you through Facebook are the next group. Some of these people you would sooner not have re-connected with but you felt unable to ignore the friend request in case you upset them and you might run in to them in the next few years at a school reunion. Again, out of this group maybe there are one or two people that you actually chat with, that you actually genuinely liked at school and that you are happy to re-connect with. The rest are ‘non friends’.

Then we have family members. I am lucky enough to have a good few of my family members on Facebook and it makes for much cheaper connections with my sister in the UK and with cousins in America. These are genuine friends and they are the ones who will comment on what you do and how you are and will genuinely know what you are talking about. However, even in this group of ‘friends’ there are some who you really have no interest in – maybe you have minimised them so you don’t see their endless updates and nonsense posts, but you don’t want to disconnect with them in case it causes problems in the wider family circle. More non friends I am afraid.

Finally, you have your actual friends and if we are honest, for most people this group will amount to no more than maybe ten or twenty people – that may even be overly generous. These are the people who text you, call you, connect with you, send you a real birthday card without having needed to be reminded by Facebook. You meet up with them regularly and they know you inside out. These people are your FRIENDS.

We read this week about two very different sides of the Facebook ‘friends’ coin – one tragedy where a woman posted an update saying she had overdosed. Not one of her 1,000 plus Facebook ‘friends’ made any effort to help her – so did her friends belong in one of the ‘non –friend’ categories? Clearly hey did or maybe she would still be alive.

On the other side of the Facebook ‘friends’ coin we have a woman who is being helped financially by Facebook ‘friends’ following a cry for help after her husband’s departure left her in financial difficulty.

So next time you feel a twinge of jealousy because someone you know has 2,250 ‘friends’, ask yourself how many of these are real friends and how many belong to the non friends category?


I have 152 ‘friends’ on Facebook!

Brenda Drumm

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