To Friend or Not to Friend?

I’ve been on Facebook for about eight months now.  Eight months since I gave up on MySpace as a poor medium for dialoguing with like minded people and set out to see whether or not Facebook fared any better.

Overall, I like Facebook better.  The few applications that I utilize are more interesting and compelling than the ones I didn’t know existed on MySpace.  The cleaner design of Facebook (even the ‘new’ look that everyone is so upset about) appeal to my simple aesthetic tastes far more than the Teen Beat glitziness of MySpace.  And I’ve actually been able to find friends on Facebook.  Old friends.  From high school and college, from the place where I teach part time.  But people that I already knew before joining Facebook.  I just have a way to keep in touch with them now, when in many cases, I would never have reconnected with these folks. 

That’s a gratifying thing for me.  But I haven’t made any new friends through Facebook or applications I utilize there.  Until yesterday.

Yesterday, for the first time, I accepted a friend request (which allows each person, if the friend request is approved, to view the personal data in your Facebook profile) from someone in the application I utilize most – Minekey (formerly iThink, which is far and away a better name, but copyright laws and yahda yahda yahda).  I’ve had requests before, but if there’s something I’ve learned in my brief forays into social networking and my many, many years online in general (15+ years, woohoo!), it’s that people like to collect ‘friends’.  I don’t, but a lot of people do.

More than that, some people desire to become ‘friends’ without knowing anything about me at all, other than that we happen to see an issue the same way.  Experience has taught me that these folks are enthusiastic initially, but quickly there’s nothing to talk about, and the relationship withers until when you see their icon in your friends list, you just kick yourself for adding them, and wonder how to gracefully ‘de-friend’ them.  Virtual friendships rarely last.  There just aren’t enough compelling connection points.  At least that’s been my experience. 

But yesterday I received a friend request from a gentleman who seems to think similarly to me on the matters that matter most in life.  The one and only person I’ve met in this Minekey application that consistently is able to offer insightful, clarifying, intellectual responses in discussions.  Though I’ve received friend requests based on this app before, I’ve never accepted them.  I’ve always politely declined and enthusiastically encouraged them to interact with me more on Minekey before we became Facebook friends.  But this time, I accepted.  I hope this time is different.  I hope that there will be enough similarity of perspective and ability and inclination and whatever else, that I’ll end up making a new friend – or being made a new friend of someone else, or better yet, both.  I don’t make friends easily, and it would be nice to have a new one.

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