Facebook is a social networking phenomenon without a doubt, but it can also be misleading. Unless you keep your account really private or you’re really, really picky, you probably have more Facebook friends than you should. Let’s face it, most of the people on your Facebook friends list aren’t really your friends at all.
When I see someone with, say, 400 friends, I have to wonder, how many of these people do they actually know? You know what it’s like, that cringing feeling when some random person that you graduated high school with sends you a Friend Request. Never mind that you never even uttered two words to each other in high school. You probably have a few of those on your account.
Just say you’re an average Facebook Joe. You have 50 to 100 Facebook friends. But how many of them would you call in case of emergency? How many would you deem remotely suitable to be Godparents to your kids? How many of them would you trust to even babysit your kids?
How many of your Facebook friends have you seen in the light of day since, say, 1992? Would all of them recognize you if they passed you in the mall? Cripes, how many of them would attend your funeral?
And then there’s your opinion of them, these so-called Friends. How many of your Facebook friends have you changed your Privacy Settings on? That is, they can’t post to your Wall, they can’t view your photos because in reality you don’t really know who they are and don’t trust them to have access to that stuff.
How many friends have you changed your Notification Settings on, so you don’t have to read how many times they played Farkle or Bejeweled Blitz or you don’t have to view the endless uploads of corny family vacation pics they’ve posted. Do you really care if their kid is potty training and do you want the blow by blow synopsis?
Facebook should change the “Friends” label. Maybe it should be “People You Know” or something, but even that’s not accurate. “Stalkers” might be a good name, in some cases. “People I May Have Been in the Same Room With Once” may be even better.
Anyway, next time you get a Facebook Friend request, think long and hard before you accept it. Of course, Facebook etiquette is to Accept and then worry about it later. Lord knows you wouldn’t want to offend your old college roommate’s cousin’s sister in law. But next time you get a random Friend request, take a moment to yourself and ponder: Do I even know this person? And do I even care?
And then click the Accept button like we all do. And enjoy your new “Friend’s” Farkle scores and potty training updates until the end of time— or until you scroll over the “Hide” button on your news wall.