At the time of writing, I have 85 friends on Facebook. A good dozen or so are people I will likely never interact with again. Another dozen are people I’ve met once, maybe twice, and unless they’re also in LinkedIn with me, I doubt I’d even have their contact information. I’ve gotten friend requests from people I’ve truly never met, but we seem to have someone in common. So what exactly is it that makes us Friends?
A few weeks back, Dave Winer wrote a post that I very much agree with, complaining about the types of relationshps available when people befriend one another. My complaint is at a much more basic level – I don’t really like using the term ‘friend’ so casually.
In my world, a friend is someone I can call (or IM or text
or Twitter), in times both good and bad, and know they’ll be there to lend an ear. I mock Twitter above, and one of the reasons comes back down to my view of friendship – my friends know what I’m doing and don’t need to find out my updates from some Web site or service. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people I’m friendly with, but just because I’ve established a positive, non-stranger relationship doesn’t mean we are BFFs.
Clearly on the other side of the fence of this kind of topic is Robert Scoble, who is currently accepting friendships with anyone out there (for now). Again, there’s nothing particularly wrong with this, but it does make me crave a new word to use for contacts, acquaintances, associates, and other people I “know”.
I enjoy plenty of friendly relationships, and look forward to making many more in this journey called life. I hope for everyone’s sake that twenty years from now people seek more from each other than writing on walls, tagging photos, and the occasional poke. Well, that one’s not so bad now, is it?