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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Hurting Each Other

I'm a MySpace addict. I check my account a half-dozen times a day for various matters, like show updates and messages from friends. I know I'm not the only addict around the people I hang out with. Yet I find it odd when people take great offense to actions that seem like a dis by their friends. In particular, declining Friend Requests and changing the order of your Top Friends list. This all may sound so silly, but it's serious business for a number of people.

Late last year, I spoke with a couple friends of mine about receiving Friend Requests from people they didn't know. One said she received a request from someone that was a friend of a friend of a friend. Since she didn't know this person, she declined her request. A short while later, she met this person face to face. The encounter was awkward to say the least. This person took great offense to the supposed flat-out rejection. But I wondered why. Is the acceptance of a Friend Request symbolic of acceptance in other aspects of life?

I know I'm one to talk about taking stuff way too personally, but I've never been crushed by a declined Friend Request. I've felt bad for inadvertently hurting someone's feelings by leaving a comment on his or her's page, but I know that kind of reaction is not solely by my doing. I don't have that kind of power over someone.

In regards to the Top Friends (aka, the 4-24 profiles listed on the front page), I'm flattered when a friend of mine puts me up there. However, I've never expected to be "ranked" among even my closest of friends. I have my own weird way of placing my friends in the Top 24 and it's not easy to explain. I have friends from college, bandmates, my band, blogging friends, friends from work, writer friends and so on. Are these the only people I'm closest to? Absolutely not. Yet they each have their own specific reasons why they're up there. If I were to take someone out of there, that does not mean there's been a major fallout between us. However, people think that is the case.

Writing all of this stuff out makes me think this is gossip strictly for the middle and high school crowd. Yet it's not. Has the addiction of MySpace made us so? I think of the site as a virtual portal. It's not a replacement for face to face/phone to phone conversations. No matter how many features get added to the site, it's no substitute for them.

3 comments:

Treblephone said...

It all goes back to a simple 'you don't like me?'. 'Grade-school', yes, but that's the net effect.

I know that I do my top list based on the amount of interaction/contact I have with people. It's a simple case of functionality----having their profile links handier.

Sophie T. Mishap said...

I can't stand MySpace...or FaceBook...or anything else of the sort. Not exactly sure why. Maybe because it's too damned high maintenance. I can't even take care of a plant much less a whole hierarchy of friends and random people from high school who 'drunk dialed' me on a whim.

If my sister (who is 6 years older than I am) wasn't so hooked on MySpace, I'd argue it is a generational thing. Clearly that's not the case. It just seems to me that it is a lot of work.

Kev said...

I've found a way to weasel around this whole thing: I never actually deny a friend request (mostly because I have no clue whether the rebuffed requester is notified of this or not). If I get a request from another musician whose music I don't care for (mostly the occasional Oasis-y saxophonist who thinks we have something in common because they call what they do "jazz"), I just let their request sit in the inbox and it goes away after a month or so. Is this a cop-out? Maybe, but the music world is kind of small and all that...