Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Who is your friend on Facebook

Social networking has become very popular over the past few years among people of all ages. I attended a conference where a librarian talked about how she used Facebook to develop relationships with students. She mentioned that it works better to reinforce friendships that you already have rather than creating new friends. When it began Facebook was available only to academics. One had to have a .edu e-mail to join, but that changed to allow everyone to join. I made friends with many NJIT students even though I did not "know" them. Yesterday a student asked to see me and as you approached my office she seemed impressed that I knew who she was. I did say I made friends with her through Facebook. I also made friends with several of my students from Freshman Seminar.

Over the last 3 years I have made "friends" with

  • NJIT colleagues
  • NJIT students
  • College friends (from 40 years ago)
  • High school classmates (from over 40 years ago)
  • Radio enthusiasts
  • Bob Dylan fans
  • Mets fans
  • Colleagues from other universities
  • Relatives
  • People with the surname Slutsky, even though we are not related
  • People I don't even know. Other people take the expression "friend" literally.

I have about 350 Facebook "friends" many I don't even know

I have found out some interesting facts about people:

  • Mark and Richard who are librarians at other New Jersey universities are also Bob Dylan fans.
  • Joe, my beer drinking buddy from CCNY is still a big Mets fan even though he moved to California years ago. He is also a radio enthusiast
  • My nephew, a student at SUNY Oswego attended a Bob Dylan concert there
  • The librarian who spoke about Facebook is dating one of my NJIT colleagues
  • My colleague at an upstate New York university had a baby recently
  • A former NJIT colleague was recently granted tenure at another university

We all must be careful about what we write on Facebook since anyone can see what was written. People do have minor conflicts all the time. I think it is quite immature to de-friend a person after a difference of opinion about something. This has happened to me a few times.

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