Social Networking: What does it mean to you?

Before I begin my “topic of the day” I want to tell a funny story. It ties into this, so bear with me.

So anyone who has read any of my recent posts would have seen the picture of me and the NESkimos from Nerdapalooza. I saved a copy of that image and put it in my “backgrounds” folder on my PC, as I have my PC set to change my desktop every 3 minutes. Its for us ADHD people haha.

On Saturday night, my wife looks over and sees that image, sees Bruce, and instantly goes “I know him!”. I of course look at her like she is nuts. How could she know Bruce? As far as I knew, he lived in St Augustine (although Wily had told me that he and one other band member lived in Orlando and the other 2 were in St Augustine). She prodded me to message him, asking if he had worked at the job she has now, a certain call center. Well, the only way to message him that I knew of was to try to find him on Facebook.

So I found him. It was surprisingly easy despite not knowing his last name (scarily easy in fact…)
From there, I had the quandary of messaging him. To do this I needed a Facebook account. I had deleted my old one months ago, and really had no desire to sign back up. But to appease my wife I did.

I messaged him and then we began looking through his friends list and lo and behold we saw someone we both knew. My old QA Manager (and my wifes current one) by the name of Eric. Holy shit, my wife HAD known Bruce!

Sure enough, he confirmed it later. Shows how small the world is really. And to top it off? He remembered her!

So how does this tie into my topic? Well, after I joined, I suddenly had the urge to start testing out how people would react to a facebook friends request from someone they either did not know, or had met maybe once. The best test subjects?

Why the members of the bands I had met at Nerdapalooza of course! So I started sending friend requests out to people like Dylan, Wily, Bruce, and a few others. And lo and behold each and every one of them accepted my request. This began a series of thoughts in my head to what a friend request really meant, as well as what a Facebook Friend means to some people. Including myself.

For me, I guess a facebook friend is either A) Someone I want to keep track of, or B) an actual person I consider a friend.

However, there is a sort of social pressure to accepting facebook friends as well. Or even friend people at the behest of others. A perfect example is this: There are 2 people who were suggested to me by others to add to my friends list. I sent a request to both, and both accepted. At the same time, however, I HAVE NO EARTHLY CLUE WHO THOSE PEOPLE ARE?! I have never met them (I think) and have only briefly heard their names like twice, maybe.

Why did I friend them?

I honestly have no idea. Was it because people I had friended already suggest them, and I did not wish to insult THOSE people? Perhaps. Or maybe it was a thought that I should possibly get to know THOSE people as they were considered worthy by the others? Who knows.

And why did all those people accept my request? In most cases I had met the people a grand total of once (and in a specific case I have never met the person at all and yet have spoken to them on numerous occasions now). Do they consider me as a friend? Or am I just someone they want to keep tabs on? Perhaps they did not want to seem “douchy” and ignore the request, and just did it out of pity? Again, if it was someone I truly knew I could come to a conclusion (obviously if I know them in person they would have accepted me BECAUSE we are already friends).

For example: Bruce Wily and Dylan. All members of the NESkimos. All three accepted my friend request. I don’t consider them friends YET, as I have met each of them once or twice, have spoken to them a grand total of maybe 45 minutes to each, and barely know anything about them beyond their music. And I would assume they feel the same. But why friend me?

In Bruce’s case I found that he had posted that picture (the one with me, dan and them) to his wall, and one of my old supervisors had actually recognized me. When she asked him if “That was Clay” he couldn’t say yes or no, only that I was cool. He had forgotten my name, which is understandable as he had spoken to me twice that whole weekend, and he was drinking.

Its like there are these new social norms in regards to these networking sites. A coworker found my new facebook account for example, and I accepted his request. I happen to like the guy but even if I had not, I think I would have to accept it for fear of trying to explain WHY I ignored it, causing a huge issue in real life!

Layers within Layers!

It goes even further now. Some jobs require you to give them your Facebook password, some require you to friend them or they refuse to hire you. Its fascinating. And now its considered weird to NOT have a Facebook. My wife doesn’t have one and people are baffled as to why. She simply prefers to stay private with her dealings and does not see a point. I agree with her choice and am fine with it. Its like when I tell people I don’t watch TV anymore and have not for years. It amazes them.

Now, another thing I have questions about is what to DO with a Facebook! Beyond using it to keep track of others, what good is it? To a guy like me, who doesn’t take pictures of himself (I am WAYYYY too ugly for that!) and doesn’t have an interesting life, what good is it? I mean, for a business or a band or a celebrity I can see a use: it helps to keep track of fans and promote your company. Its why I made one in the first place honestly, to keep track of the bands I like (since having your own website that you keep up to date is soooo 2000)

Next, lets talk Twitter. Again I have to question its use. I have one, but its primarily for promoting my work. I have no idea why people follow me as they NEVER SAY A WORD TO ME and just silently follow. Its kinda creepy 0_o

And now, I have just been informed of a new “mobile social networking company” called Solavei which apparently pays you when you get people to join it! DO WE REALLY NEED ANOTHER ONE?! And when I say just heard about it, I mean literally as I was writing this at 12:18pm I got an email from a coworker wanting my personal email so she could send me a link ALL about it.

In the end I am curious as to what these social networking sites mean to YOU. Why do you friend people on Facebook? Why do you accept friend requests from people you may not know or barely know? Why did you even create one to begin with?

And finally a challenge. Since I am 99.9% certain that not a single person on my friends list from said Facebook will read this, I will propose this challenge! If you do read this before August 18th AND COMMENT ON THE POST HERE and on my Facebook post, I will buy you a drink (either a beer or a soda of some sort) the next time I see you. I am pretty sure no one will be reading this from there, so I am not worrying haha.

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