If you can’t poke me, I don’t have to ignore you

Mary Elizabeth Williams (Slate.com) has done better with Facebook than I but she’s much better at explaining why she’s ignoring your friend requests:

“When my friend list began to swell to unmanageable proportions, I found it increasingly difficult to weed out the dialogue with people I really liked from the random news from people I had nothing in common with. I relearned that some of them were really obnoxious. I was getting poked and superpoked and invited into mafia wars and invited to become a fan of people and things I was no fan of, all the damn time. As they say on Facebook, I unliked it. I unliked it a lot.”

“In the months since my self-imposed embargo, I’ve noticed how rarely new requests come with so much as two lines of introduction. Socializing is, for many, now a one-click affair — as easy as clicking Add or Accept. When someone does take the time to write a note, whether it’s a pal from the old neighborhood or a random reader, I write back. But I don’t want to collect names on a list like they’re seashells on the beach. So if we should meet at a party and hit it off, let’s have coffee or see a movie sometime. Let’s be friends in real life. And who knows? Maybe if it goes really well, someday, we can even be friends on Facebook.”

This is a thoughtful piece by someone who still likes many of the aspects of being on Facebook.

2 thoughts on “If you can’t poke me, I don’t have to ignore you

  1. Please. You don’t even know who William Gibson is. And anyone who has made two human babies is far more steeped in meat-space than this console cowboy. Is is possible for you to poke yourself?

  2. This whole “let’s be friends in real life” thing was more convincing 5 years ago. It will be far less convincing 5 years from now.

    The Internet IS real life, and the relationships people are forming there are real. As time goes on, it will seem more and more curmudgeonly to draw an artificial line between “real life” and “Internet life,” and eventually the distinction will die out altogether.

    And you call yourself a William Gibson fan.

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