Facebook friending: the social construct that has redefined the ways in which we connect with acquaintances, friends, lovers, former lovers who have previously defriended us but whom we send monthly friend requests just for entertainment purposes and sometimes even relatives separated by generations but bound by a universal, age-defying urge to stalk your life.
So we all stalk. The recent development that allows one to see a greater portion of a non-friend’s profile (that is, unless you go ultra-private with a series of privacy regulations), seems particularly conducive to the stalking cause. We no longer have to swallow our pride and be the first to friend in order to get access to assorted tagged or profile pictures, info and relationship status.
Even though stalking has gotten easier, it is my opinion that sometimes you just have got to friend. Nevertheless, I turned to some fellow Ephs to get their opinion on the nuances of friending protocol.
An extreme example of Facebook friending complication comes from an unnamed first-year male who had freshly experienced an awkward post-screw dance Facebook incident. After attending a screw dance, not as a date but as an honorable guest, the man danced the night away with a young woman with whom he was quite taken. “We danced all night, went to Spencer, then I took her back to her entry,” said the first-year. “But I felt something warm on my pants, noticed a urine stain and made a quick getaway. The next morning, I woke up to Facebook friend request from the girl. It led me to believe she either didn’t notice or didn’t care about my little accident.”
So a man pees his pants while possibly intoxicated, and still receives the friend request – and a prompt one at that. The seemingly trivial friend request was one of great relief for the incontinent freshman. “I felt relieved because I had had a good night, but I would have felt really bad if she hadn’t. Especially because it was punctuated by urination,” the student said. “She friended me, so I could only assume she had a good time.”
Although the student in this particular case didn’t get to seal the deal, the friend request seemed to be of real consequence. Friending and post-hookups are two controversial concepts that, when mixed up with one another, create an extremely sticky predicament.
Of course, friending does occur and, in many cases, within entirely platonic circumstances.
Jacob Gellman ’13 actually feels that the whole Facebook friending thing is overblown. “What’s weird about Facebook friending is I feel like everyone at Williams is the type that doesn’t Facebook friend,” said Gellman. “So you sometimes have a group of people who are friends in real life, but not actually on Facebook. It’s not that I don’t want to be friends with people, it’s just if I see people around all the time, I don’t feel the need to stalk them electronically.” He added that he uses Facebook more for messaging and contacting people at home than wall posts and tags.
Facebook pictures, however, as college Facebook users no doubt know, open up a whole new tangled realm, especially for those unfortunate users who find themselves friends with their parents, grandparents or, in my friend’s instance, her great uncle the priest. “It’s not even the pictures always,” said Alex Sera ‘13. “One time, I had a casual status on a Sunday morning which read: ‘dying … never again …’ He commented below it, saying I needed to stop having so much fun and to go to church.” Ironically, her clerical relative was facebooking these messages in between Masses.
Nate Barker ’13 had another family anecdote. “My mom told me we didn’t need to be friends on Facebook, but my dad approached me and was like, ‘You know, your mom really wants to be friends with you. It would make her really happy if you did,’” said Barker. “I added her, but I have a special list for family members so they can’t see anything.”
It appears that a number of Williams students have taken a relatively laidback approach to initiating Facebook friend requests. It might be out of laziness or it might be because we truly value those face-to-face interactions with our peers, and I don’t mean Goodrich DFMOs (read: dance floor makeouts). Laissez-faire though we might be, remember that one little click on “Add as Friend” or “Accept” could make all the difference in the development of a relationship or the length of the leash your parents keep you on for next few years of your life.