There once was a woman who loved Facebook. She enjoyed finding old friends and meeting new ones. She happily searched for old classmates and added them to her friends list with joyful abandon. She even added an old boyfriend or two (with her husband’s approval of course).
Not long after joining Facebook, someone from her place of employment added her. She giggled gleefully and clicked ‘accept’ to the friend invitation. Soon others from her work added her and she felt very happy. Facebook helpfully suggested some other people to add. She learned how to do searches and added even more people to her friends list. Soon her list was very big and she felt very warm and fuzzy inside.
As time went on, the woman would occasionally get emails from Facebook that let her know that even MORE people wanted to be her friend. Sometimes she didn’t recognize the name of the person so she would sadly click ‘ignore’ on the invitation, hoping that the person would not take it personally. Other times she would smile and accept.
Time passed. The woman discovered the joy of Facebook applications and spent many a happy hour playing games and inviting her new and old Facebook friends to join her playing these games. She wondered how she EVER lived life before Facebook came along. At some point during this time, she had a conversation with her boss about why it was a good idea to keep her life on Facebook separate from the workplace. The woman agreed that was a good idea and resolved that she would no longer actively seek out any friends on Facebook if they were related to her job. She was very reluctant to delete the work friends she’d already made though– so she didn’t. She didn’t extend any new invitations to coworkers but she did continue to click ‘accept’ if someone reached out to her.
More time passed. She occasionally gave in to the temptation to add coworkers as friends if she received an invitation or a suggestion from Facebook.
She started to get better and better about ignoring Facebook suggestions, especially because they really seemed to send more and more almost daily and she rarely knew the person. She resolved to clean out her friends list and have it really be only people she knew personally or people with which she had games in common.
Then it happened. She was in her boss’s office, talking about work things. Her boss mentioned that she had gotten a friend request from the woman recently. The woman was horrified. She had NOT SENT any friend requests to anyone related to her work for some time. She can’t imagine how her boss would have gotten a request from her. How strange! She gently explained to her boss that she wouldn’t have sent her a friend request. She asked that she not take it personally but let her know that she just wouldn’t have invited her to be a friend because after all, she is her BOSS. Her boss laughed and said she completely understood and that she’d declined the invitation for just that reason.
The woman thought about this for awhile. She talked to a few people that she knew who were also on Facebook. They told her stories of similar things that had happened to them as well. She realized she was not the only one that had an experience like this.
Then it hit her. Facebook must have sent this request WITHOUT HER KNOWLEDGE. She realized that Facebook must pull her information from her friends list and her friends’ friend lists…it must just go on and on! It explained so much…why she sometimes got emails from people asking for friendship, only to see them in her friends list as ‘pending approval’ later. She thought these request were coming from them at the same time they thought they were coming from her. Facebook was pulling them from the friends list of her friends or THEIR friend's friend lists! Her head started to spin at all of the possibilities.
The woman got paranoid. She wondered just how many times people from her job had gotten requests from her. She started feeling like people might think she was a stalker. She worried that people might have accepted friend requests in order to avoid hard feelings. Her stomach got upset and her head started to hurt. This Facebook thing that used to be fun suddenly didn’t seem so fun anymore.
She looked at her friends list and saw how many coworkers and people related to her work were on it. She also saw how many people were on her friends list but she never actually interacted with them at all. She realized that she’d started ‘collecting’ people for no good reason other than to say to herself, “Look how many Facebook friends I have!”
Sadly, the woman realized there was only one thing left to do. She must delete all Facebook friends with whom an actual relationship did not exist. In addition, she needed to delete all friends related to her job. She wanted Facebook to be fun again and did not want to worry about how it might affect her workplace.
So…the woman did what she had to do and felt a little bit sad about it.