Wednesday, February 18, 2009

To Friend or Not to Friend

Friend – noun – a person attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; a person who is on good terms with another; a person who is not hostile

Friend – verb – to add someone to your Facebook community.

Facebook is a free website used to network people by various factors such as location, school or workplace among others. Members can add friends, send them messages, post about themselves and create photo albums to share. Facebook was founded in 2004 by a Harvard student. Membership was initially limited to Harvard students, but later expanded to include other Boston and Ivy League colleges as well as Stanford University. It later expanded again to include any university student, then brought in high school students and now is open pretty much worldwide to anyone over the age of 13. Today Facebook has 150 million active users.

It has been blocked from time to time in Syria and Iran, and is blocked by many workplaces to increase worker productivity. Duh. If I were the boss, I'd block it too.

I joined Facebook on September 8, 2008 and to date I have 284 friends. I have a few requests outstanding so maybe I'll hit 300 soon. I tried to find out who has the most friends on Facebook but couldn't find anything definitive. I mean, it's not like "He who has the most Facebook friends wins" or anything. I also belong to some groups including one for the elementary school I attended, I have a corkboard with some Flair and I enjoy playing 52 Pickup to help Save the Planet.

I started thinking about my Facebook friends and came up with ten kinds of friends on my list:

1. My husband

2. My boys and daughter-in-law

3. Family such as nieces and nephews and my daughter-in-law's mother and sister

4. People I went to school with in elementary and high school and in college

5. Writers and their friends -- we're a very friendly lot

6. Former business associates

7. People from message boards and Yahoo loops I belong to

8. Friends' spouses

9. Small world friends

10. Friends who are the result of keen detective work

I'll tell stories about 9 and 10. A while back I added the mother of one of the groomsmen in my son's wedding. Mostly we just see what's going on in each other's lives. But yesterday a woman with a very familiar name commented on groomsman's mother's site. I messaged her and asked if she was so and so, and she was. Our boys all attended the same elementary school and were in Cub Scouts together. She knows groomsman's mom through club work. And interestingly enough, the familiar name moved a number of years ago and lives within two miles of me now. Small world, huh?

In the keen detective work arena, one day I was just typing in surnames of people I'd known and got a hit on a woman I believed was the daughter of a high school chum. I messaged her and asked if she was so-and-so's daughter and if so, would she pass my email to her mother. A couple days later I got an email from the mother who just signed up for Facebook a day or so ago.

I typed in another name of a couple we were in Germany with. They had twin girls names X and Y. I got a hit on a young woman named X and in her friends list was a woman named Y. I messaged her, explained who I was and she emailed me back with her mother's email address but with the caveat her mother was out of the country for ten days. I honestly forgot about emailing her until I wrote this blog yesterday afternoon. I dashed off an email and two hours later she replied with "Hi Marilyn!!! How exciting to hear from you after all these years! I must get on Facebook, clearly it's THE thing to do." She filled me in on what has happened with her and her family in the 28 years since we've seen each other.

Sometimes you have to dig a little, but if you're lucky, you can find the daughter of someone from your childhood neighborhood, the girl who trimmed you hair in the dorm at college and catch up with the boy you took to the Sadie Hawkins dance in ninth grade who now owns a large pharmaceutical company and got an $8,000,000 salary package in 2007.

Of course, I should be working on the WIP, and I have been, but one particular chapter has been a real bear and while I'm sorting through plot points and POV in my head, I'm dabbling with Facebook. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Do you use Facebook? Have you had any small world or keen detective experiences?

P.S. I am nearly finished with chapter 10 of the WIP, which leaves one chapter to go. Yay!


Angel said...

I'm on Facebook and don't have nearly as many friends as you, but I haven't made finding them a priority. Plus I'm limited by not attending a real high school growing up or participating in extra curricular activities during college.

The biggest problem? I can't remember people's names! I'm really good with faces, names--not so much. So all those kids from elementary school--nope. The friend of a friend--nope. Somebody's mother--please don't let me run into them, because all I can remember is "somebody's mother". *blush* Can make for some embarrassing moments.


Kathy said...

I'm not on Facebook either. I wouldn't know how to get there. ;)

PM, you amaze me!!

Problem Child said...

Marilyn knows everybody... we knew that already.

I never think people will remember me, so I haven't friended a lot of folks I remember from high school. I also refuse to friend people I didn't like in high school. You were mean to me then, why should we be friends now?

Smarty Pants said...

While I am easily addicted to facebook, I don't have a lot of friends. In some cases, I tried very hard to get away from these people. Like PC, I don't have warm fuzzies about people who made me miserable just because its been 10+ years.

For the folks I am friends with, I love it. Keeps me up to date with my people!

Playground Monitor said...

I'll admit I've had to use my high school and college yearbooks to remember some folks' names. And is you want to be found on Facebook, include your maiden name. I'm noticing more and more women do that now. I did it because there was another person on Facebook with my same first and last name, so I added my maiden name to make my account stand out from hers in a search.

I don't friend folks I didn't like either. I have the same philosophy as PC.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm on Facebook with encouragement from my son. And I have "friend" a few of you ladies. For once it appears I'm somewhat "hip". Most of the people that I am friends with are co workers and authors such as you ladies.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I'm on Facebook with encouragement from my son. And I have "friend" a few of you ladies. For once it appears I'm somewhat "hip". Most of the people that I am friends with are co workers and authors such as you ladies.
word verification - glumme - that would be describing the weather today.

Anonymous said...

sorry about the duplicate comment - don't know what's going on this morning

Instigator said...

Yep, I'm on Facebook and I love it. Although, it can be a time suck. I really enjoy the fact that I can keep up with my friends easily - and know that SP is stopping by the gym on her way home from work today and therefore isn't availalbe to answer her phone and talk me down off a ledge. I am, however, going to kill Zilla for giving me a goat...


Lynn Raye Harris said...

I don't know what made me take the Facebook plunge, but I did it back in October. It IS fun. And I've found I have to close it out from time to time if I want to get work done. I have a couple of old college chums -- one who is also a writer and member of RWA, it turns out, and no high school people. I only went to my HS for two years, so it's not like I really know those people.

But the hubby. I talked him into FB and now all these people are coming out of the woodwork to friend him. He lived in the same town from birth to joining the military, so he grew up with these people. He's having fun reconnecting with them and finding out where they are in their lives now.

Rhonda Nelson said...

I heart Facebook and it's all Kira's fault. :-) I love catching up with everyone and knowing what everyone is doing "right now." It can be a bit of a time suck--I've got a zoo to run, a farm to take care of and a puppy--then there are the rubberducks and the flair...but it's fun. I am completely addicted. :-)

Angel said...

See, I just must not be programmed yet. It doesn't occur to me to update my Facebook status very often. Like every couple of days. Which defeats the purpose of people getting that glimpse into your everyday life.

Huh. Don't know what to do about that. Guess I could add Facebook to my To Do list....


Kathy said...

Is this another thing I need to learn how to do? Arrrrr!

Lynn Raye Harris said...

Angel, get the FB app for your iPhone. It's free. :)

Angel said...

Got it, Lynn! Now I can update in the car rider line... if I can remember. :)


Christine said...

When I got ready to do book in a week, I turned off all my FB notifications. If it is something I want to read, I will later when I am done my writing day.

I had to friend my BIL, whom I do not consider friendly at all. I have blocked him from reading my status reports.

I rarely do status reports now.

And do you know everything, I MEAN everything we post is PUBLIC via the founder of FB??

But I do like it for keeping up with my long distance friends.