I have been on FB since before it exploded among “regular” people. And I must say it’s interesting to see its evolution.
I first registered on the site I when one of my editors realized we needed to reach some students for a story we were working on. For those on FB, you could only contact them through FB if you were a member. Problem was, I was not a student. I had to contact my alumni office for a valid school email address.
I didn’t spend a lot of time stalking students for quotes. But I had a space. I was sort of parked there.
Soon, I was friended by someone I used to work with. They hardly needed an introduction. This person is a friend. One I know well. Then there was another and another and another. The friend requests came like a barrage and I began friending people like mad myself.
Most of my early FB friends were people I used to work with, all highly adept at digital technology and, hence, early adopters of the online social network. And for a good year or so most of my friends were in the digital business, people who are online a lot, use the internet for work or are just young.
I’ve even friended some people I have never met but had a connection with, either through mutual friends or business.
I will say that for every one of those people — those I’ve never met or who do not know me — I have always — repeat, always — sent them a message of introduction or explanation of why I was friending them. That just makes sense to me.
So what I find odd — and I’ll admit, a little annoying — is that I’ve been getting friend requests from more and more people I sort of know, or used to know, or met once, or knew in grade school or college and never ever speak to or have not spoken to for years and barely recognize their name.
And they put no note. Nothing. Not even a: “Hi, did used to go to XYZ school? I recognized your name…” or “Hi, I found you on FB and would love to keep in touch – my name is now XYZ but you remember me as ABC. How are you???”
I find this odd. It annoys me, as I already said. I mean, one childhood friend added me recently, which I guess was her way of saying “Hello.” Maybe I need to just lighten up here but she didn’t put so much as a, “Hi, what are you doing and where do you live?” even after I accepted her friend request and wrote a quick hello on her Wall saying she needs to fill me in on her life. I’ve still never heard from her. That must have been two or three weeks ago.
So what do I do with these people? I am not sure I really even care to have them back in my life. I’ve done just fine without them. Not that there is anything wrong with them. Maybe I’m just in a different place.
Maybe I need a reason to re-connect. Maybe we need a kind of FB date. A little back and forth to stimulate my interest beyond the kind of connection you make at a school reunion. When you are happy to see the person, get caught up and then go on about your life and do not see them again until the next reunion. Or ever.
I guess I have only so much energy for my friends, FB included.
I certainly have no time for someone who doesn’t even make a tiny effort to communicate once we are “friends.” Again, I'm referring to people I barely know now. And have no professional connection with. They are simply someone from my past. I expect a little something from someone I once knew relatively well.
I’m not planning to delete these people but I do feel slightly exposed. So what I do is engage my privacy preferences. At least until they show me a little of themselves. I mean, so what if we hung out in grade school. I really have no idea who you are today. You know?
So my attitude is this: If you want to eavesdrop on my life, please, just drop me a line.
Some have. I do not need to talk to them all the time. For them I say: Feel free to hang out. Say or post something interesting, I might pipe in. I appreciate being in on the conversation.