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Are your friends really friends?

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Facebook FriendsWhen is a friend really a friend? We are all different, and we all have different definitions of what makes a friend. This is true for both real life and also the virtual world that is now taking over our lives. So, do we apply our own same rules online as we do offline?

Personally, I’m a funny old so and so. I come from the end of the spectrum that likes to consider a true friend as someone that would be there in times of need: someone that thinks about you when you’re not there (or in my case on the other side of the world). On the opposite end of the scale, some people consider a friend a person that they met at the bus stop: someone that queued with them at the post office when they bought stamps, or met at an awkward work conference. Let me state right off the bat that here’s no right answer here and it’s just a different view of the world.

Virtual reality!

Now let’s turn to the virtual world of friends, and a whole new set of rules come into the equation. One of the major differences is that your “friends” are now there on display and there for everyone to see, examine, copy, or just laugh at and this status makes us act differently. Firstly, there’s the subconscious aspect where nobody want to admit that they only have 6 friends on the entire planet. Conversely (and especially with the younger generation) many of us like to show off and tell the world that we are the most popular person in our circle and have more than six million friends.

Now, do we all define the boss at work as a friend: what about an ex-partner? I certainly don’t.

Are your Facebook friends really real?The problem is that this brings a whole set of problems when you start discussing your personal life and putting semi-naked pictures of yourself online, and many of these have been well documented.

Moving into the SEO and social marketing world, computers dictate that the more friends we have, the bigger audience we can reach and the more important we are perceived to be. This brings another complicated dimension into the matter and, in my honest opinion, puts a bit of a mockery on the whole thing.

Too Many Friends In Too Many Places

Google+ brought us circles which is a fantastic way of combining all of the people we know into circles and allowing us to communicate with pockets of people separately. Facebook have attempted to rebuild their groups feature to copy this but, in my opinion, have failed miserably.

It’s already a pain in the arse to maintain so many profiles across so many systems. I don’t think that it makes sense to maintain separate personas within each system – that would mess with your head. I like to try and keep my close friends and family separate from my distant friends or professional colleagues, but I struggle every day. I have a few tricks up my sleeve which I use (some are which are probably not to be discussed openly) but it’s tough. I don’t claim to have 6 million friends, but I appreciate that it’s needed to make money online. Something that I am sure many of you will appreciate….

About Adrian Britton

Sometimes I will talk about things that are interesting, and sometimes I won’t. Sometimes it will be a bit of a laugh, and sometimes it will just be a downright rant about something going on in the world – I’m often accused at moaning a lot, and I consider myself quite good at it !!

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