More often than not I get sucked in to accepting Friend requests from people I hardly know. I’m not Mr. Popular, so I’m guessing it’s a plight that you suffer as well. I blame my lack of resistance on our traditional hospitable nature which has inculcated the disability to say NO (which our employers seem to love). In addition I’m always guilt stricken as I suck with names, so most of the time I’m wondering where do you I know this guy? Or do I actually know this guy? A private profile with a Tweety Bird Pic or some lame saying doesn’t seem to ease my task either.
Once I give them the green light, I hardly hear from them unless they wish me on my B’day. Which makes me scratch my head again trying to think where I know this guy from. The same feeling you get when you receive an SMS from an unknown number, wishing you on your B’day.
At this very moment I have 459 friends with 8 more waiting to get it in. How well do I know these 400+ friends I have on Facebook? Do we actually interact with them? I don’t mean the customary B’day wish (we wouldn’t have known unless Facebook reminded us). But how many of us go and write something on all our friends’ walls and ask them how they are doing? Or has the definition of the term ‘keeping in touch’ turned into ‘stalking’ which we’re all known for to some extent?
What I’m getting at is.. is it practically possible to keep in touch with soo many friends? ABC‘s Jimmy Kimmel declared November 17th National Unfriend Day. Despite my doubts of it being another publicity stunt, he makes a valid point of the ‘friend fat’ we collect over time. Ironically the example Facebook users he used to prove this point ended with more Friend requests.
Interestingly Evolutionary Anthropologist from Oxford Robin Dunbar also backs me up on this one in his book How Many Friends Does One Person Need? He states that 150 (or the Dunbar Number as he likes to call it) is the maximum no of people we can maintain a relationship, no matter if we’re Hunters in an ancient civilization or on Facebook in the modern world.
It is in this light that Path a new Social Network launches. They seem to flow in the opposite direction of the social networks we’re used to. The folks at Path seem to be determined in keeping things ‘Personal’, by limiting the no of friends you can have on board to 50.
Getting back to my question what does a Facebook Friend mean to you? Someone you add and forget? Or is Friendship taking on a different definition in this era of technology and social networking?