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Facebook Friend or Foe?

2010 December 18

          I reluctantly joined Facebook and after three years I’m still a tentative user. I very occasionally post a status update, and in rare moments I’ve been moved to opine on someone else’s comment or picture. But mostly I lurk.

          I enjoy perusing the site, and I don’t mean to be anti-social. I just want to limit the amount of time I spend on it. But what message am I sending as a taker but not a giver?

          My policy regarding “friending” (sorry, but it will always be befriending to me) is likely more controversial. From the beginning, I’ve accepted virtually every invitation (which is how I was lured onto the site in the first place), but I haven’t made any friend requests of my own. It’s a strategy (again) designed to cut down on my Facebook involvement (with some fear of rejection thrown in), but what message does this send? I know it doesn’t make me look very popular in comparison with my other friends, who’ve all compiled much larger caches of friends than I have — and I assume everyone notices how many friends each of their friends has, and competes in this regard on some conscious or subconscious level — but am I also violating some explicit or implicit protocol if I’m only accepting and never requesting? And is there a (presumably derogatory) name for what I’m doing – or who I am?

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