CharlieMC (charliemc) wrote,

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LJ Friends versus 'Friends'

God, I'm slow! I'm not quite sure why it's taken me so long to 'get it.' LOL.

Have any of you ever been 'friended' by someone you didn't know -- and you couldn't figure out 'why' they'd want to friend you at all?

Do any of you ever struggle with the whole issue of 'LJ Etiquette' regarding how you should friend?

Well, I've been there. And it's so damn stupid of me! (smile)

It all goes back to the word 'friend' being applied...

I've seen complaints floating around forever about using 'friend' as the term for someone who has, for all intents and purposes simply decided to bookmark your blog. Suddenly I was reading something where a person was bitching about being 'friended' by someone and DING!!! I get it. (grin)

Those of us who have websites wouldn't ever tell anyone not to bookmark our site. If we even had the option, of course. (For those unfamiliar with the term bookmark, some call it creating a 'favorite.' Ugh.)

Yet at LJ many would like to tell people exactly that -- don't bookmark my blog!


I suppose I understand why someone would feel this way if every entry they post is 'friends only' (filtered) -- and they have no intention of 'friending' a person they don't know. (Adding a stranger to their 'friends list.') But if you post even part of your entries public, what's the big deal? Whether a person 'friends' you or not, they can still go and view your public (publically available) blog entries! By friending you, a person has simply made it easier to read your blog -- meaning it will show up in their 'friends view' when they're reading.

It doesn't require that you friend them back -- which we generally feel to be the case. In fact, they may not even care to be 'friends' in the more traditional sense of the word. It may simply be that they like reading your blog -- and are making it easier to do that. (Again, just bookmarking -- as opposed to trying to strike up an online relationship.)

I don't know exactly what the answer is to this situation. I'd be sorry to see the term 'LJ Friend' (or flist) go away entirely. I like the idea that even if someone initially adds you simply to read that you might eventually become online friends. (And, for me, my online friends are very real friends -- and an important aspect of my life.)

Yet, again, why should I care if someone wants nothing more than to read my public entries?

(And, yes, most of my entries are public. I occasionally put notes to myself up as private entries, like I did today, for example. I reminded myself that I'd 'stuck' the oil -- and how many gallons we currently have in the heating oil tank. Silly, I know, but it's a great place to keep things like that...)

Many LJ Users think 'friend' should become 'reader' (or something similar). While I realize that makes more sense, I'd be sorry to see 'LJ Friend' become obsolete. Let's face it, though, it's taken me years to comprehend all this! And I don't think of myself as stupid. So clearly using the word 'friend' automatically makes us feel strong emotions about friending -- and unfriending!

Think of all the LJ Etiquettes you hear regarding friending! 'You must/should comment when you friend.' Why? 'You should ask permission to friend someone.' Again, why? If it's simply about reading, then why do we owe people an explanation of why we're friending them?

And if we decide to 'clean house' and unfriend (or is it defriend? I'm never sure), why is it such drama? Again, it's because of the word 'friend' -- and the connotations associated with it! To have someone remove you from their friends list takes you back to grade school, and having someone decide they don't want you as a friend anymore. (smile) It's stupid, but that's how I've felt in the past, so I know it's true for many LJ users.

What's ultimately annoying is that LiveJournal doesn't seem to be able to find ways to accurately explain this to the Newbie -- or average (me) -- user. If you're not 'supergeek' then you often miss this stuff. It's not in the two journals you auto join now when creating a new journal. (I've recently created several for NaNo and exercise, so I know.)

Well, let's face it. I love (yes, love) LJ. But it's often confusing to use. (And I'm not even talking about things like changing the style, here. I mean finding out the basic uses!)

Anyway, I hereby swear that in the future I'll be less sensitive about the whole issue of friending and unfriending. From now on I'm going to think, 'Well, that person must have decided to change their bookmarks at LJ -- no big deal.' I suspect that's often exactly what's going on, too. (grin)

It's interesting to realize how easily we turn blogging here at LJ into social interaction. I adore commenting to my friends! (See, I'm back to the concept of 'LJ Friend' as friend again! Hard not to think like that!)

Tags: friends, livejournal-friends

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