Like almost all twenty-somethings in the 21st century, I am in possession of a Facebook account, which I use to keep in contact with people who I consider friends, as well as casual acquaintances who I like to occasionally keep in touch with.
This morning I was on Facebook and a post from what I affectionately refer to as a “con friend,” someone I know from anime conventions, popped up in my newsfeed. It was a silly post, but I was bored and scrolled down to the comments to see what other people had to say, out of sheer curiosity. A friend of hers (one of almost 1,500) posted a comment correcting the grammar of the caption to the photograph, and being the eternal copy editor, a habit I haven’t been able to shake from my college days, I harmlessly clicked “like” on his comment and moved along my merry way.
About twenty minutes later, a new notification came up on Facebook. This commenter, we’ll call him “Mr. X,” had requested to be my Facebook friend.
I am not opposed to making friends through social media. In fact, I first met one of my close friends through a mutual friend’s status, which we proceeded to spam up with a running commentary of over 75 Harry Potter comments before he requested me. (We were both scared of our friend’s reaction to spamming up her Facebook and figured it was better to carry on our Harry Potter discussion via private messaging.) I had no problem with this, given that we’d just had a very lengthy, very fun conversation and I trust our mutual friend’s judgement in people. Plus, we were both Ravenclaws, it was clearly A-OK.
However, I consider that very different than friend requesting someone simply because I liked a comment on a casual friend’s photo. To me, that seems a bit overly friendly and pushing the boundaries. I know, many people will argue that “being Facebook friends doesn’t really mean anything, what’s the harm?” While I tend to agree, being friends on Facebook really doesn’t have any significant bearing on relationships in the real world, in some ways it does. I post things on Facebook that reveal my personality, my likes and interests, even when the pages that I “like” are few and far between. It’s pretty easy to triangulate my high school and college that I attended from my friends’ locations, and if you scroll back far enough you can see my birthday and how old I am from others’ comments. You can see that I write for Literally, Darling and what TV shows I work on—and through that, the company that I work for and the town where I work and a rough geographical estimate of where I live.
I am absolutely OK with my college classmates and high school friends seeing these things about me; heck, most of them know at least half of it from knowing me in real life anyway. But a pretty much random stranger asking to see these things? While I understand that his gesture was probably friendly and not at all intended to freak me out, it still kind of does. And it makes me wonder, in this social media age of everyone knowing everyone’s business and people becoming friends with others solely through online interaction, where do we draw the line?[divider] [/divider]
Where do we draw the line? Tweet us your thoughts @litdarling.