Have you ever tried to sort out your real friends from your mere Facebook friends? You may have a lot of followers and many people you follow on Twitter, but do you know them all? I would guess not. I always see people with “Add me up” on their status or a thread of “Follow me, I’ll follow back” on my stream. A lot of them must only care for numbers of people they are connected to, maybe they just wanted to enlarge their circle of ‘friends’ and they can’t see that social media can be used to communicate to your real friends and family. Allan Wolk states in his “How Many Friends Have I Really Got?” : **Where’s the Link?**
One day you got an invitation from Bob who you considered a casual work acquaintance asking you to connect as a friend. Fair enough. You were likely flattered that Bob considered you a friend. But if Bob was listed as a friend, then Arun, Maria, Dave and Kevin, all of whom you had listed as work connections, needed to be made “friends” since you were certainly closer to themm than you were to Bob, and it wouldn’t make sense to have him as a Friend and them as mere co-workers.
And that’s the problem: friendship is never as simply as a math equation. The people most of us consider friends rarely have us on an equivalent plane of friendship. So the potential for hurt feelings is quite high. And the second I give my Facebook email to an acquaintance is the second its value as a communication device with my inner circle diminishes in value 100%.
It’s human nature and I’m not sure how technology can fix it. The best bet seems to be to maintain various levels of communication and allow water (or friendship) to seek its own level. That way we’re not forced to declare our level of friendship with someone based on our communication style.
I have nothing against those people adding somebody just to have a long list of followers and friends. That is one of the goals of social media too, making the world as small as a monitor, interconnecting people from all around the globe. Well, in that case it is a success. Social media is now a line of communication and a place where friends and friends you haven’t met meet.