My Foursquare Friend Rule

13 Apr

I just made it. It’s a pretty simple rule, but I think it makes sense.

For background: there was a time not too long ago where everyone would just accept every friend request that came in… somewhat of a land-grab, if you like. For me that time is now gone: I don’t feel like I have anything to prove in that department.

Social networks have forever changed my definition of the word ‘friend’ to such a degree that I now talk about ‘internet knowing’ people, aswell as ‘knowing’ them. For example, somebody at work asks:

‘Do you know John?’

If I respond ‘sure, I know him’, that means I could tell you something about his past. Perhaps where he went to school, or his wife or girlfriend’s name. It means there’s some sort of human connection there beyond simply knowing him as a Facebook friend.

Whereas if my response is ‘sure, I internet know him’, well that means just that. Maybe we’ve met in person, maybe we’d recognize each other if we met again, but I sure as heck don’t know anything about him other than what I’ve seen online. He could be a murderer, or (more likely) a dullard. I have no idea.

Now, of course you can know, know somebody without having spent lots of time with them, or even without having met them in person. Evey relationship is different: my point is that our definition of the term ‘friend’ has changed beyond all recognition. This is really the friends extension of the strong ties/weak ties thing.

So with that in mind, my new Foursquare rule is that I’m only going to be friends with people I know know, vs those I internet know. After all, if I don’t really know John, do I really care about where he is at every minute of the day?

No, of course not. And I sure as heck don’t want him knowing where I am at all times. After all, he could be a dullard.

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