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I got two emails today from students in Singapore—not the most common event in my inbox. Both were asking to become my “friends” on Facebook after their professor assigned them a critique of an article I wrote last year on failure. The first one was a welcomed email—I love how the Web puts you in touch with people you’d never otherwise meet—but when I got the one from his classmate, I realized I could suddenly have a lot of friend invitations from Singapore.
Which leads me to wonder, why do people bother adding people they don’t know at all as “friends”? Why not just leave me a message using the site (one of them did that, too)? I’m happy to talk and share ideas over email, but somehow widening my circle of “friends” to people I don’t know at all isn’t immediately appealing. (Perhaps I’m just a few years over the Great Social Network Divide, which I peg at somewhere around the current age of 30. Those younger than that can’t imagine life without them, those older find them an interesting curiosity, but hardly necessary.) I’m wondering, as people use non-professional sites like Facebook to network with people they’d like to meet, do they add someone as a friend, or just send them a simple message through the site first? What’s the Facebook protocol?
(Speaking of Facebook, anyone else’s site acting up tonight? My profile has shown up as Anke, Allison and some other girl every time I log in tonight. Bizarre.)
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