The Facade of Social Media

Do you really know me?
Do you really know me?

I go through periods of time where I am highly selective about the people I “friend”/connect with via Facebook and LinkedIn. Sometimes I don’t want to add people whom I only “know” through a Facebook Group or other forum; however, I feel like the worst people to add as Facebook friends are those who are friends of IRL friends.

Because that’s when people begin to feel like, “Oh, I know you because I know your friend.”

Frankly, no, no you don’t. You don’t know me and you shouldn’t act like you know me.

Which brings me to the main point of this post: we think we know these people we are all supposedly friends with on social media, but we really don’t. I know I had talked about this in a previous post of the whole comparison syndrome, and that things are never as they seem on social media. But this post is pointing out another aspect of that thought: when an acquaintance shares a piece of personal news (perhaps on the ‘bad news’ side of the spectrum), you may think you know how to react and how to respond to that person, but do you really think you do?

I am one of those people who just pops in and out of Facebook, not really staying consistent on the types of posts I share, so people who are “friends” with me there don’t get the full picture of what I’m going through (to get more of a full picture, they would also need to follow me on Twitter). Only if they’ve seen me recently in-person do they really know who I am or what’s been happening. If the last time they saw me was awhile ago, well then…they really should not assume they know all that has happened in my life, just like I try not to act knowledgeable on their lives.

This is the downside of technology: in the past, when we knew of friends of friends, they would just stay that way: distant connections. But in this modern age, we suddenly feel like we’re closer to friends of friends than we really are. It’s a delicate balance to maintain, and I feel like, if you’re not going to actively seek a more direct friendship/connection with the “friend of a friend”, then why even add them on Facebook?

I don’t think highly of people who think they can just sit there and lurk on acquaintances’ profiles, just waiting for that moment to pounce in and show “I REALLY KNOW YOU.”

Because really, NO. You really DON’T. 

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