I’ve always been one to jump on the latest and greatest social networking sites. I like to try out these sites out of my own curiosity, although every time I join a new site, I hesitate for a moment and ask myself, “Why?”
Ever since Six Degrees [now defunct] in the late nineties, I was compelled to make connections with the people I knew, through the magic of the internet. The world wide web made our own worlds smaller, and we were enchanted with the idea of connecting and reconnecting with people from near and far. With Friendster, we saw people get obsessed with collecting friends… some even likened it to Pokémon (Gotta catch ‘em all!), which was rising in popularity at the same time. Friendster forever changed the definition of the word “Friend”.
MySpace brought social networking to a younger (read: mainstream) audience and made itself a part of the vernacular. From then on, it got ridiculous. Social networking sites sprung up faster than anyone could count, and to this day, invitations to join someone’s network litter our inboxes, and people foam at the mouth for invitations to the beta version of the newest networking site.
I feel that part of the appeal of social networks is in the ability for those of the introverted persuasion (e.g., geeks and nerds) to be able to connect to many like-minded people. We became social networking junkies, binging on forming online friendships. Why not? It’s so easy… we can be friends with someone by simply clicking a button!
Yesterday, I found myself purging my social networks of people I feel little or no connection with. It was still hard for me to delete/remove/de-friend some people from these lists, so I let some of them be. What if they found out I didn’t have them in my Friend List anymore? What would I say? How would I explain it? Is it easier to keep them on my Friend List to avoid confrontation? Would this confrontation even exist?
And why the heck am I so worried about this?