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January 28, 2009 | Category: In My Life

fbscreencap.jpgI've been spending time on Facebook lately. So, duh, what else is new? I'm still all gosh-gee-whiz about the mix of high school, corporate, real life, and online contacts all gathered in one place. It sort of feels like how the Internet used to be. Back when Gore had just pulled it out of the oven, fresh and steamy.

I have a beef, though.

An itty, bitty little beef. One I am soooo feeling funny about admitting.

Here it is: I don't get the de-be-friending thing.

One day I noticed that my number of "friends" had decreased overnight. I went looking at the list, up and down, and scratched my head. I could see who wasn't there anymore - I just didn't know why.

I started writing the person an email; "did your Facebook break? You seem to have fallen off my friend list." God saved me from making an ass out of myself by taking down the Internet before I could send it. ('Cuz God does little things like that, just for me.)

By the time systems were back up, a real-life person had set me straight. "Hun," she said. "Don't send that email. People will de-friend and be-friend left and right. Lots of people will friend you just to look at your info and then drop you again. It's the way it is. If you make a fuss, you'll totally look like a dweeb."

She said that; dweeb.

I didn't believe her. So I asked an acknowledged expert in the field: an actual college student. (Yes, free-range.)

"Don't sweat it," he advised.

"I'm not sweating anything. I just want to know why."

"You don't get to know why. It's not your 'why'."

"But they dropped me!"

"Yeah, it happens."

"But they DROPPED me!"

"What are you, 12?"

So, in my expansive research I have discovered that the no-ask no-tell policy of de-Friending on Facebook is just a long-standing bit of culture. One that has given rise to some interesting behaviors. Not to get all Margaret Mead but it started making me curious.

"So, will they re-beFriend me?"


"On what?" I was a little outraged. This felt like when we were voting for peer advisor, back in college. It was a perked-up job, with a patina of aloofness about it. People who wanted the the job would screw themselves if ever seen actually lobbying for it.

"If you run into them at a party or something, maybe they'll send you a friend invite again. Otherwise, it's on you."

"To do what?"

"Get closer to them in real life so that they'd want to know you on FB."

Oh. God.

I am, in the words of our beloved Indy, getting too damn old for this. Which may be the point. This is a medium originally created for college campuses.

So people you don't know, friend you. And people you do? Unfriend. And in between, well, a world that sucks too much of my time and still leaves me a little curious about the why. (Or is that just me?)

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Tagged: Facebook, policy, contacts, unfriend, friend, life Corporate, Mommy, Life
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Still kind of new to FB, have not been de-friend, but have wanted to de-friend a couple of my daughters friends. They seem to have nothing better to do that update their status about what they are eating, watching on tv and one in particular saying random stuff which makes no sense to me.

I have been trying to connect and network on FB, but so few of my friends are on, just seems like all I do is check on my child and her friends.

Posted by: Laura on January 30, 2009 03:29 PM

I'm another FB addict--I've only had one friend (that I noticed) "de-friend" me, but it was a mistake, and she added me again. Other than that, I haven't had much of an issue with it.

Posted by: Amanda Towne on January 29, 2009 08:44 PM

My first de-friending was from my cousin, an actual relative with whom I share DNA. I was a bit taken aback, but he was still talking to me at the family Christmas party, so I suppose it's one of those kid things I don't understand.

However, a friend admitted that he de-friended me for the free Whopper.

Posted by: Nic on January 29, 2009 03:28 PM

I agree - FB has its roots as a networking agent for, specifically, incoming college kids. Will the norms mature as the age range does? I don't know. The more I ask, the more I find that the ability to de-friend anonymously is considered sacrosanct. Maybe it seems so weird to me because my social networking skills are so different than what they were then? Or because I'm so used to transparency? I don't know. But you're right - it does catalyst an interesting dynamic.

Posted by: Elizabeth on January 28, 2009 09:56 PM

And this would be why I've resisted Facebooking for so long. I think that it would awaken my inner 12-year old with a vengeance, and I don't want to have to delve back into all of that.

As more and more users are older than Gen Y, I wonder if some different etiquette norms are going to emerge for these places? I suppose time will tell, but it'll probably be a long enough process that social networking will become passé, and the real concerns will be about ... whatever the new thing will be (not enough of a visionary to see that one!)

Posted by: Alice on January 28, 2009 09:48 PM

I understand, I do! I've been de-friended several times...does that say something about me? I hope not. I've also received friend requests from the girl who stalked me in college, the collegue in another school that I don't LIKE, and random strangers. Yet, I keep going back. It's a terrible addiction.

Posted by: Tammy on January 28, 2009 08:10 PM