Wow! If I knew that one could un-friend or de-friend when I scrambled to make some, way back, I would have made much more attempts to add people to my list. I must be old-fashioned because I always decided to be careful about that very step, just because I did not want to be bothered with tons of contacts that meant little to me… Then, I entered the business world and had to fake some form of friendly posture to sell my technologies; can you imagine a lonely European lost out in the boons, in Red Neck countryside, spending his late hours on Sunday learning all baseball results to be able to chat around with his clients?
Making friends is about being social, right in the wake of sustainable development. We have learned that this is not just about the environment, it is not just about growth, it is foremost about human networking and equity… Funny that, despite all of this education, our Gini (*) coefficients have all increased in the developed world over the past thirty years. Aren’t we obnoxious to spend hours socializing amongst ourselves rather than « being social » and wondering about the state of the world? Aren’t we ludicrous spending huge amounts of cash, discussing in the dark of Cancun (or Copenhagen) abodes about the environment?
In fact, let’s face it; social networking is about economic wealth: aren’t we focusing most of our time making sure that it grows our marketing stamina, our recruiting capacities, our revenue targets, etc.? We just got sidetracked for a while and need to wake up to reality… No, social networks are not just a matter of making money, right? In fact, I know a friend who must have been a precursor of social networking back in the 90’s when he initiated a series of events to gather people; he knew that e-mails could help him disseminate information and claimed having 3,456 « true friends » who were all close « connections »!
Let’s go back one more step, when I was a kid (I promise that I shall not mention my age). If you wanted to make a friend, you had to go face-to-face and discover, step-by-step, if the person was truthful, although it may not have been the most important point then, as people were more transparent! If you were fed up with a relationship, you had to make the effort to again face the person (unless you were considered a coward) and tell him or her that it was over. There was a real need for effort and, of course, trials and errors. But, that was life in the big city, you could not just hide behind your little finger (pardon my French!)
Now, you are bombarded, no problem… Want to be a friend, want to join my network, just click: opt in, opt out! Junk mail easy, spam galore, so much time wasted to withstand the pressure of being included or thrown out, not to mention the affectionate words if you decide to break the spell! Then, you join for fear of hurting, then nothing happens: no response! It is your job to be active and fetch information on the network, what a fluke! So, what do you do? You can become oblivious or you have to de-friend. Ouch, how am I going to do it? No problem, it is virtual anyway, a big game invented by man in search of communication.
Let’s face it! We have invented a new virtual way of making friends, thus, we had to invent a new word for kicking people out and it is called « un-friend or de-friend »; at least, the first one means something; he/she was unfriendly thus he/she is out… But the second word: coward!
* From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: the Gini coefficient is a measure of statistical dispersion developed by the Italian statistician Corrado Gini and published in his 1912 paper « Variability and Mutability ». It is a measure of the inequality of a distribution, a value of 0 expressing total equality and a value of 1 maximal inequality.