Why are we friends on Facebook?

For this Captains bLOG entry, I'm going to touch an issue which might be considered both cheesy and stereotypical, and which perhaps are one of those issues that are really hard for everybody to fully agree on. Which I do respect off course. I have noticed that when discussing this issue in the past, it has the potential to get the best and worst out of people. Anyhow, I still feel that I'd like to share my opinion on the subject again, whether my views are good, correct, insane, or in total disagreement with your views.  

Like around 1.6 billion people around the world, I also I have a Facebook account. Also, as with many, the account is filled with people whom I have very little or no contact with. Naturally, I do know Facebook uses certain algorithms and calculations, and whatever, and doesn’t really let you see all your friends updates. Facebook lets you only see what THEY think you are interested in, based on previous clicks and likes. Recently however, I sat down and looked over the so-called "friends list" and I realised that I didn’t even know some of the people listed there. As I have done a couple of times in the past, I again started deleting, but quickly realised that the task is truly massive and very difficult to do.

One of my best friends, have just 48 friends on his Facebook-account, and as he said, these are all the people which he cares about, and are in communication with. These are also easy to manage, and follow, and will not cause  his whole newsfeed to become extremely time-consuming. 

So after some light spring-cleaning, I basically gave up. There are still a little more than 800+ connections on my  Facebook. For some people, deleting might be as easy as making pancakes, but for others its really hard. Then there is also that nagging fear that if you delete someone, you could potentially hurt their feelings..... even though they have not been in touch for a decade or two. 

It  makes me wonder wonder, why are we “friends” at all? 

... or ignore me, that's cool too. 

The worst people I know are those that continuously ignore me, those that may even come to visit my town without letting me know that they are here, those I seldom or never chat with ... yet, you still want to be my friend? 

I think many of us have pretty much the same feeling when the friends list is slightly out of control. Doing something about it is a lot of work, and I sometimes fear that it is easy to offend someone when they notice that they have been deleted, even though, honestly, they have no reason to be offended. 

Being friends and overly active on Facebook is like giving permission to become stalked, to let everyone see what you are doing without any interaction from one of the parts. 

Another friend of mine, which I admire greatly, found the perfect solution when his friends-connections suddenly, and nearly reached 2000 people… he deactivated (as in abandoned) his old account and reopened a new one under a fictius pseudonym, bringing along only the friends that he interacted with. This is perhaps the best, fastest and by far easiest way to do it. It follows in the same path as building new from scratch, instead of trying to fix something old. 

To be honest, that is what I ended up doing too. I will from now on have two separate accounts on Facebook, one for the absolutely closest circle of friends which also know me by any of my many various nicknames, and another account for those that are acquaintances outside of the popularly called “inner circle”. So far, and this is important, the new account will be kept in only Thai language, while the old account remains in English, flavoured with some Norwegian. Put it this way, my old account will be more like an official account where I have to try behaving, and the new account for my closest friends in Thailand, will be just a bit more personal. 

A long time ago I read in a magazine, or perhaps it was on the Internet, it really doesn’t matter where, a recommendation that you should only accept friend-requests of the people you would allow into your house. I see clearly now, when not even knowing who they really are, that there is no way in the world I would let everybody on my current and old account all the way into my house. 

As long as you have been extremely careful from the first time on Facebook, I do believe many of you are in the exactly same situation, am I right? 

I think I logged on to Facebook for the first time somewhere around late 2006 or early 2007. Today, Facebook is not even remotely close to what and how it was back then. As you may also know and remember, many of the earlier competitors to Facebook, have come and gone in the past decade. Do you remember hi5, Friendster and what about Path? Some are still up and running, but in no way as popular as Facebook. And before social media, I was chatting along on MSN and Yahoo messenger, and even further back, on ICQ. Oh, how the times have changed and how they will continue to change in the next decade. 

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