Tuesday, December 31, 2013

We Can Still Be Friends

I like you ever though you are not my friend. If you sent me a friend request on Facebook and I didn't accept it, it doesn't mean I don't like you.

When I joined Facebook years ago, it was to network with other educators with whom I worked. A good deal of my work was done online and my colleagues were, spread across the globe.

As time passed, I added personal friends and family. As a result my news feed got hundreds of posts a day.  If I were to read them all, it would be a full time job. However, reading is just part of the problem. I have to consider each post I make and how my friends/followers will view them.

When I retired from education a few years ago, I sent a message to my professional colleagues and those who followed my education postings. I let them know of that the nature of my post would be changing.  They would be more focused on my personal and family life.

I said that I would not unfriend anyone, but if anyone was following me because of my work in professional development, those posts would be stopping, and I would not be upset if they unfriended me. I also mentioned that I would no longer accept friend requests from educators I didn't know personally. (I never accepted friends with whom I didn't share a personal or professional connection.)

As the years in retirement grow, the nature of my posts and my friends are more personal.  Many of my professional FB friends are also personal friends. I scan their posts and read selectively, as I'm sure they do with mine.

In the past few years, I've had dozens of friend requests from friends of friends, but have accepted only those I knew and with whom I felt I wanted to share personal information.

Recently, I was invited to join a new FB group of former Cyber Angels. Having been associated with them since 1995, I was happy to reconnect through the group. Now I find that I am getting friend requests from group members and am in the uncomfortable position of having to ignore the requests.  Accepting them would put me in a situation where the nature of my posts and theirs would be of little benefit to either party.

Because I'm FB friends with some members of the group, I received regular updates from the group and can stay current without having to add more friends, expand my already overloaded news feed, and share unnecessary personal stories.

The fact is that FB groups are a great way to stay in contact with folks who share a narrow interest without sharing too much non-relevant minutia. 

I'm looking forward to reconnecting with those of you I know and meeting those of you I don't, but it will be through the group rather than through my wall. So please understand that we can be great friends in the Former CA group without being full-fledged FB friends.