#oneaday Day 853: Friend Collecting


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.

Published by

Pete Davison

Southampton-based music teacher, writer and enthusiast of Japanese popular culture.

12 thoughts on “#oneaday Day 853: Friend Collecting”

  1. You are so spot on! I find that facebook, rather than helping me connect with family and friends, does the opposite. I Log In less and less, and encounter more and more crap that has nothing to do with me or mine when I get there. There was a time when family kept in touch by phone and then Messenger – which was great – convos in real time at least. And with video calls on Messenger and Skype now that should be enough. But all this sharing with friends of friends of friends and family is crazy.
    It all makes me feel antisocial and completely Bah Humbug. I just want to say, as you did so succinctly, ‘Fuck off!’ to the whole thing. I think I might try narrowing the list down a bit. The only drawback is that i Publicize the blog on Facebook – though having moved it from my Home page to their own sub-pages I don’t think they are now being seen. That was I think a pointless exercise. I was just trying to stop bombarding other Facebook users with my blog notifications. Hmmm. A dilemma. S i g h . . .

    1. Do you use Twitter at all? I find that’s a much better means of publicising blogs. Google+ is worth a look, too.

      I much preferred Facebook back how it was when I first joined. There were no social games and apps and any time you added someone as a friend, you had to indicate how you knew them. This was a genius move that helped ensure that Facebook became a network of close personal acquaintances and/or people you trusted rather than HAY LOOK HOW MANY FRENDZ I HAV.🙂

      1. Several times I’ve gone to sign up for Twitter, but stop when they ask me to let them ‘use’ or ‘show’ me or whatever it is they do. It scares me off. And I can’t see myself actaully twittering. But I have thought that I should sign up so my blogs are seen more. I gather you recommend it? It is safe to use? And I don’t need to actually twitter on it do I? Will the force be with me or will it get sucked away into the twitterfield of the cosmos? lo

        1. Twitter’s totally safe. You have to bear in mind that what you say on there is completely public, though, which is what they’re warning you of when you sign up. People who post tweets that are “popular” (receive a lot of responses or “retweets”) sometimes get featured on the “Top Tweets” page, which means a lot more people will see them than normal. That’s all they’re getting you to agree to — though to be honest, for probably about 95% of the Twitter population this won’t be an issue at all, since Top Tweets are inevitably either some celebrity’s vapid nonsense or an empty platitude that someone’s posted in order to sound profound.

          Twitter is something you have to use to “get”, really. Once you do, it’s an excellent means of quick communication and sharing content. To get the most out of it, you really do have to engage in conversation and post a few things besides links, though — people tend to avoid Twitter users that post nothing but links.

          In the case of your site, a Twitter account might be a good means of posting short, brief comments about things you’re looking at prior to the actual review going up. These comments will help to build anticipation and make people want to read your detailed thoughts when they’re posted. It’s a technique used by pro journos in the games industry — post something like “Gosh, you won’t BELIEVE what I have to share with you later today…” and tease what’s coming later for a bit until finally posting it. You don’t have to be as much of a cocktease, either — something like “I’m currently playing [insert game name here] and quite liking it so far. Watch for my full review later today” works too. That sort of thing encourages people to respond with their own thoughts, and you can open a public dialogue that you’re free to respond to or ignore as you please.

          I didn’t really see the point of Twitter for a long time until I started using it as my primary means of communication with my friends all over the world. Now I’m not sure I could do without it.

          1. Wow Yoda a veritable fount of info you are. I will give it a try n I will try very hard not to tease too much lol I can’t see anyone getting aroused by a HOG tho – but they might about CSI🙂 Geez u have to check for typos on this thing – aroused was nearly something unintelligible!
            Aren’t you supposed to only use one-liners on Twitter? Will the whole blog appear on it or will just a link to the blog show on it? what a novice I still am – s i g h . . . . . lmfao 😛

  2. I had exactly the same problem that you had with Twitter. When I first started using it, I followed anyone that was cool or interesting. Obviously, this lead to a very clogged feed. So when I came back to it, I had to trim it back quite a bit. It’s still a work in progress, as I have a lot of games press still, but it’s a lot better than it was.

    It was kind of a awakening to how cluttered my “digital life” was. So many things in my Google Reader, ReadItLater, things on my FB wall, hell, even games. I’m pretty sure it’s the same phenomenon as what leads people to hoarding, but it’s easier to do, and harder to see because it’s all digital. It’s not filling my house, but my inbox and my hard drive. It’s a pretty interesting thing to deal with. It is is akin to waking up one day and realizing your closet is filled with old newspapers and magazines.

  3. I didn’t realise that my VBA post was going to throw heaps of pingbacks in here … you might want to delete them, they are not relevant. Also, a website called sportsnhobbies has scraped my post already and I can see it has thrown a pingback in here as well. I apologise for the mess.

    I hate scraper sites so much… Wish I could do something. I hate to see my content out of context on another blog where it isn’t meant to be. I have posted a comment making it very clear to them that they do NOT have my permission to use my content, but my comment is awaiting approval and may just be deleted, and there is no other way to contact them. (‘they’ may in fact just be a blind, automated programme)

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