In my four years here at UT, I have met a bajillion people. Fortunately, I am good with faces. I can recognize someone if I have met them even only one time. My skills are put to the test when it comes to Facebook. Some of the people who add me, I have never met them before in my life. I know some people just search their name and add all the people who share their name. I’m glad that Facebook put the “not now” option when it comes to responding to friend requests. I might not know the person that requested me now (typically because they requested friendship prematurely), but I may know who they are in a few more months after we meet in real life.
I don’t know about other people, but I have some rules about social media that I exercise in daily life. These rules have both protected me and caused awkward situations for me. However, because they are mostly effective, I have stuck to them.
1. If we have never met or had a real interaction (outside of social media), do not add me on Facebook.
2. If you are looking to make me a trophy friend, (ex. the person who will get you to 667 friends or 1,000 friends) I am NOT the one to add on Facebook
3. If you plan on randomly Facebook chatting me “Hi…how are you” and having nothing to add to the conversation, do not add me on Facebook
4. If you plan to add me and ignore me when you see me in real life, I am NOT the one to add on Facebook
5. If you have a picture of a celebrity or have a celebrity name, I will not add you.
6. if you are currently my resident, I will choose “not now”. We can be friends when I’m not your RA anymore.
7. If you are a former professor, I may add you but please don’t be mad if you get the most limited profile ever. But wouldn’t Linked, or something else be more appropriate??
– These rules aren’t hard and fast rules, I just had to get some order back in my life. During my freshman year, I added the whole world just to be nice, but once awkward situations kept arising, I had to do something. These were some of the odd things that happened to me:
Problem: I kept getting a ridiculous amount of irrelevant Facebook events. If you were my real friend, you would know that I don’t want to attend your Underwater Basket Weaving general meeting. You wouldn’t even bother inviting me to your Salem Witch trial moot court. But the 70-something random events in my inbox alert me that my “friends” don’t know me at all. It annoys me.
This is the most prevalent awkward thing that happens to me:
Problem: You see someone that is your friend on Facebook, but you’re not good friends with them. Umm, then why did you add them? Because their profile was aesthetically pleasing. Happens all the time. Carry on. The gap between you and the person is closing. Quick, what do you do:
a) Conveniently have something stuck in your eye. Convincingly rub your eye when he walks by, blocking eye contact with him. Your eyes may be red, but at least you’ve avoided an awkward moment.
b) Choose that time to respond to a text. Texting requires your full concentration. Head down = no eye contact. Don’t worry if you bump into people in the process. They’re not the ones you’re avoiding.
c) Allow yourself to get caught up in the music. Turn up the volume, bite your lip, nod your head up and down, and close your eyes if you would like. Anyone can see you’re too into the music to notice them. Your avoidance is justified.
d) Use the trick that always works when you’re unsure of whether to say hi or ignore the person: You need to use the “cheek crease” or the “dimple”. As you’re walking by a person you may or may not know from an online social media community, lift one cheek in order to create a crease or dimple. In passing, this creates the illusion of a smile. This way, you look approachable, but at the same time they’re not sure if you’re smiling at them or if you just have a permanent crease in your cheek. Awkwardness is avoided and you can save face or make a new real-life friend.
I typically choose choice D. Although choice A, B, and C are options I have utilized in the past, I found that they just create more awkward situations for me.
I am not a social media snob, I just don’t like being overwhelmed with random stuff that has no connection to my real life. I don’t like friendships that are only viable on the web. I like real people and real interactions.
I tried to delete Facebook once and they played my emotions and made me stay. They showed me a page that said “Look at all these people who will miss you if you’re not on Facebook”. It was a pathetic attempt to make me stay, but it worked.
Hello, my name is Timi. I have been a Facebook user since 2004.