I didn’t understand it back in the MySpace days, and I still don’t understand it now.
Friend collecting. Why? Just… why?
I am, of course, referring to the phenomenon seen in the comments thread of this Facebook post here:
(with apologies to Kalam, who is nothing to do with this.)
“Who wants 2,000+ friend requests?” asks Ahmed Hamoui, only with poorer use of punctuation and a seeming inability to use the number keys on his keyboard.
To his question, I answer “Not me. Fuck off.”
Facebook is noisy enough at the best of times. Can you imagine how chaotic and useless it would be if you 1) got 2,000 friend requests and 2) accepted all of them? It would completely negate the core concept of Facebook (or what it used to be, at least) which is to be a “social tool” that helps you to connect with family and friends. The very nature of the way Facebook works pretty much encourages you to limit the friends you add to being people you actually know, otherwise there’s that horrid risk of people seeing photos they shouldn’t. Because despite the fact that everyone knows you shouldn’t post embarrassing photos online, everyone still does. (Not to mention the fact that you have no control over what other people post.)
This sort of thing happens on Twitter, too, with the whole “#TeamFollowBack” thing, whereby certain tweeters promise to follow back if you follow them. At heart, this sounds like a relatively admirable thing to do, promoting mutual, equal discussions and– oh wait, most of them are just collecting followers for no apparent reason then filling their entire timeline alternating between bragging about how many followers they have and bleating about how close to the next “milestone” they are. (Please RT.)
I trimmed my Twitter list massively a month or two back because it was just getting too much to deal with. I flip-flopped between two equally annoying problems: things moving too fast for me to be able to keep up with, and everyone posting the exact same thing at the exact same time either due to press embargoes or the death of a celebrity. So rather than complain about it, I cut the people who were irritating me or whom I hadn’t “spoken” to for a while, and now enjoy a much more pleasurable life online. Sure, my timeline still gets flooded every time a celebrity (usually one I’ve never heard of) dies, but at least I can keep up with the conversations for the most part.
Which makes me wonder why on Earth you would want to put yourself in a position on Facebook or Twitter where it is literally impossible to follow and engage with that many people. Surely at that point social media ceases being at all “social” and simply becomes white noise?
Or perhaps I’m just getting old. It seems to be mostly young kids (particularly Justin Bieber fans for some reason) engaging in this behaviour. Perhaps they have a much greater tolerance for being bombarded with crap than I do. Perhaps they’re numb to it. Perhaps they don’t really want to “socialise” at all online, simply grow a bigger e-peen than their friends and/or strangers they don’t know.
Whatever. I don’t really care. I have cultivated a relatively small but close-knit circle of friends online, much as in “real life”, and I’m happy with it that way. It’s nice to have occasional new people trickle into the mix through, say, this blog or Twitter or what have you, but I certainly don’t feel any need to bellow at the top of my lungs about how close I am to 1,500 Twitter followers, and I have no idea how many friends I have on Facebook — nor do I care.
If you’d like 2,000 friend requests on Facebook, simply “Like” this post then go fuck yourself.