August 27, 2008

To Befriend and De-friend

As a professionally trained accountant, I spent decades tracking, measuring and reporting numbers. I apparently have some talent for doing so, or else people have just been nice to me in the past; telling me that and paying me for supposedly doing that. I do not do that anymore for a living (Hi. My name is Andy, and I am an accountant), but I still in my mind measure and track numbers from time to time.

So I notice when numbers change. Like when I lose a Facebook friend. I may not know who, and I do not try to track them down and find out why (But Mom! I am your youngest son! How could you de-friend me like that! What are people going to think? What are they going to think about ME?)

But what is apparent is how easy it is to make friends in social media, and how darned easy it is to get rid of them. Click a hotlink and they are gone; and they might not even know you are gone as well. And let's be honest, you have probably been on both sides of that equation. Haven't you? I thought so.

My questions are:

  • What responsibility to we have to maintain, to cultivate friendships that spring up for us solely on social media; friendships in which the chance of any face to0 face encounter is quite small?
  • Do we run the risk of becoming quite callous in our casual friendships?
  • Will this attitude spill over into the face to face interactions we have?

4 comments:

ryan said...

Andy,
These are some tough questions that really get to the heart of the social media gap.
Unfortunately I don't have any answers to them. I do, however, believe that there is some drift into our "real" lives, I'm just not totally sure how it plays out.

Andy C said...

I do not have any answers either. if I did, I would be on the lecture circuit instead of asking away on my blog! I think there is spillage into our day to day, face to face interactions, I am not sure we can easily identify or correct that; and that is what concerns me most.

Shane Vander Hart said...

Hey Andy... I notice it too and it bothers me because it does seem so casual. If it is just a networking contact, no biggie, but if I find it is somebody I know in person I do wonder if I did something to offend them.

What really bothers me is when I get dropped and I can't figure out who, LOL. I have almost 600 Facebook friends.

Andy C said...

Shane: It used to bother me when someone dropped, but I realize I am not in control of that situation, so I let it be. I have lost three since my post came out today. Coincidence? Who knows?