Do You Have Too Many Friends?
Is there such a thing as too many friends?
Apparently, Facebook thinks so. Unless it’s a professional page, Facebook limits the total number of friends to 5000; a number I reached about six months ago, unfortunately.
Obviously, Facebook is a virtual community and doesn’t necessarily reflect reality. “Friends” on FB could easily be people you’ve never even shared air space with, much less a cup of coffee. But, it’s a fantastic way to connect. I just wish it could be like real life where there’s not a cap put on your number of relationships.
Do you remember the days before Facebook? Or Twitter? Or MySpace? Sometimes, it’s hard to even recall a time when we didn’t know every move of everyone we’ve ever come into contact with…
It’s kinda hard to remember, but there WAS a time even before the internet. Crazy, huh? I first got on line back during my 2nd freshman year at Missouri State. At that time, I knew maybe a dozen people with E mail addresses. E mail was a complete novelty. I’ve never been a big fan of forwards and jokes and crap like that on E mail. But, I definitely remember E mailing with other MSU students just down the hall…just because E communication was new and exciting. Plus, it was just a ton easier than writing a hard copy letter, getting an envelope, buying a stamp, finding a mail box and then waiting at least a few days for a response. And, for a blind guy like me, E mail could be completely private. For all of us, it was instantaneous and free. Within the next three years, those dozen friends hooked into the on line world grew to practically everyone I knew, including my parents who, at the time, I thought would never be technical enough to grasp anything computer related. Now, they’re probably better on computers than me.
Back to connecting. First, E mail made communication easier. Then came google where you could search for anyone who’s name you’ve ever known. Again, a good connection tool. Then came classmates.com. Great in concept, but to actually get anyone’s info, you had to pay. Not a good plan since didn’t seem like too many folks ever used it. Then? MySpace. Made things a lot easier. Now? Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Twitter…we’re growing closer and closer all the time.
With practically everyone having an on line presence these days, there is really no reason you can’t connect with anyone under the sun. And, we do!
I was thinking about that idea this morning: Is there anyone from my past 37 years on this planet with whom I’m not in contact? Yes, there are. And, for the most part, that’s by choice. There are people from my past who belong there. Not a lot of ‘em, but enough. Are there others from my past I can’t figure out how to contact? Yeah, probably. People who have changed their names or that sorta thing, but for the most part? No. Everyone up to this date I really want to connect with can be found in less than a few minutes. That’s a far cry from what we all dealt with back in the early 90s and before.
These days, I think our biggest challenge isn’t finding relationships from the past, but trying to balance current life, information overload and time management. I could easily, EASILY spend a few hours per day on social media. Sometimes, I do. But, I’ve really gotta work to limit myself so I have a life…not just a virtual life.
The only parting words I’ll give on this subject are this: We live in a world where connection is easy. Sometimes, too easy. Case and point, the ability to stalk people electronically. What are measures we all should be taking so our life doesn’t consist of updating a status 30 times per day? What should we be doing with our time so it isn’t all used up by following the Tweets of our favorite celebrities? What do you do?
I think in this age of info overload, we all really need to analyze and consider where our time and efforts are being spent. Is it relational? Is it rational? Healthy? Helpful?