"Don't part with your dreams - when they are gone you may still exist but you will have ceased to live" - Mark Twain

"Do you know that this blog wouldn't exist if it wasn't for you being here to read it!?" - Bobby Gill

Monday, 7 April 2008

Facebook - is it really social?

How strong are the friend links with social networking?

Friends usually expect me to have the answers, this time you'll just find questions for you to do the searching.

Are we losing real contact with one another for the sake of having more 'contacts'?

People add 'friends' and still don't communicate with those friends. Is it a way to feel like you have a group of friends so that you don't feel alone in the big wide world? When was the last time you replied to your friend's message asking how you are?

Some people have added you from school or where you used to work - though beyond an 'add' neither party really cares about the other.

I believe that many facebook ties are weak and a comfort factor for people. They feel a connectedness without being connected. A 'poke' or a 'funwall' post covers having to really interact with anyone. Don't even get me started on all the applications. When was the last time you called your friend?

Facebook is good to meet new people and join groups with similar interests, yet if you can't take this into the real world was it really worth the effort?

The good
If you happen to already have friends, then facebook is a good way to stay in touch and message each other, building on an existing relationship. You can also use it to create meetings/parties and go see your friends. Or if they live too far at least pick up the phone and say HI! Those are your real friends.

The bad
Others are using it to promote their businesses which is acceptable. Until they start to 'spam' people that they don't know by using the weak connection and then going in with a sales pitch. Some even leave random messages like "I'm Good Thanks" implying to other friends they know the person who they've left it for - very sneaky! They should look at my post on social marketing and Web 2.0 and learn!
Luckily there is a privacy and limited profile option that comes in handy. I can try to protect my friends from people that just want to network and build contacts or those I'm not sure who they are by hiding my friends list. They still manage to find the contacts through various groups you sign up. Until some trust is built, it will stay this way. An over reaction? Maybe, maybe not. As networks and users grow, this concern is a growing risk.

Yes I've got so many I don't keep count now, after all who am I to reject people who want to add me as a friend. I'm not sure who 20% of them are. Can anyone really keep a quality connection with more than a couple of hundred people? Or do some people like the quantity!?

And the ugly - Security and background check
In today's age there are people who are setting up false emails and profiles then pretending to know other people to increase their contact list; just because they are on someone's friends or contacts list doesn't mean they even know each other or are genuine people! There is a particular guy in Huddersfield that runs a letting agency who has numerous aliases and tells people he is the friend of other influential individuals in order to gain trust!! So beware and check credentials!
If you are contacted by someone that claims to know me (or another friend) you can always ask me (or them) if that is the case, you'll be surprised at how many people aren't really sure if they know them or have never communicated.

I can reassure you that if we have met, I will be in touch and am not just another face ;-) So if you only wanted to make up numbers to look popular, delete me quick before I come knocking on your door! :-)

Bobby likes to deal with real people in the real world!
Facebook is just for fun and to keep up appearances...


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