When I see a Facebook friend list in the thousands, I see a meaningless compilation of data. I see a collector. A rabid networker. To get to that level, they have to let pretty much anyone in. Anyone they've ever met, and lots of people they never will. There's no distinction between that person's real friends and associates and a mass of random acquaintances and ghosts. They're all lumped together and the purpose and spirit of true connection get lost in a sea of bland, smiling thumb nails. And I think, No thanks. I want to be known, not collected.
Facebook is structured to digitally link members to others simply because they know someone who knows someone who knows someone. To chain members to their past. Hey, don't you know this guy? You went to junior high with him! What about her? She works with that woman you met at a party in 2009. In effect, these suggestions make pop-up ads out of human beings. Click here to buy and clutter up your life one semi-stranger a time.
What a phony, diminished simulacrum of relationships this is.
When I see someone being selective about who they befriend, I know that person puts some consideration into their online presence. About what it means to Accept Friend Request. About privacy and boundaries in an age when social media is perfectly engineered to erode them.
I suspect they have more time for their true friends because they're not busy keeping track of what a bunch of friends-of-friends and once-mets are doing. I suspect they're not distracted from their current relationships by reminders of old ones. I suspect they're not satisfied by shallow virtual interactions, and are probably good at the more meaningful ones. And I think, I'd accept that friend request.
So to speak.