Last weekend, I decided to look through my facebok page to see if I should delete some names, as a sort of tidying up. My facebook friends' list has 465 names. It's quite a lot of people to 'know', so a clearance is sometimes necessary in order to be sure that have given the \right' people access to your updates. I was surprised - and very pleased - to discover that, in fact, I do have some kind of meaningful relationship with all these people. Apart from the people I physically know, my friends list is based mainly on my real-world work and my virtual-world blog environments. So in the end, I only needed to delete three names:
- someone who had two identities (with the same photo and a similar list of common friends between us)
- someone who I remember I friended completely by accident (by clicking the 'request friendship' button), and
- someone who I had no one and nothing in common with (so I don't really know how and why I friended them in the first place).
I suppose the list reflects the way I make friends in real life: I don't have many friends, and I don't interact with all my friends all the time, but as a teacher of graduate students, I maintain contact with a lot of people. Since I have also made my hobbies and interests public, I also meet people involved in similar activities.
It's really important to know who your friends and contacts are these days because of the way privacy works in the modern web-connected world. In reality, we have little privacy, and what we do have must be created by ourselves. it's something we have to work on to maintain. At the same time, it's really important to have close to you only the people that you know/believe will not work against you in this highly fast-paced world. I am a teacher, I am a blogger, therefore I lead a quite public life. No matter how open you make yourself to others, you still need to keep a check on any negative elements in your life, and work out a way to weed them out; if you don't, they will only serve to blackmail you, turn others against you, and try to bring about your downfall. That's how governments fall too - look no further than the developments this past week in Greece. I'm not about to be fooled by those negative forces. People find conspiracy theories and propaganda so much easier to handle; they really don't learn from the past.
Facebook has developed and matured in many ways, even though the way it works may sometimes annoy us. I'm really glad that my tidy-up didn't require me to hit the delete button many times. I've obviously been working very hard to keep things as tidy as possible.
I haven't been blogging much lately, but I hope to do so once I'm ready to launch the project . The inspiration for it required the least effort; now it's all perspiration - summer is just round the corner.