Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friend or Follow?


There is a nifty thing (called Friend or Follow) where you can put in your Twitter handle in and it will tell you which of the people you follow don’t follow you back. But…that isn’t what this post is about.

I have been on Twitter in one form or another for about two years now. In that time, I’ve “met” a lot of people I consider friends. Some of them I’ve physically met, others I only know online. I don’t really differentiate between the two unless someone asks.

However, on one account I have over five hundred followers and close to two hundred fifty on the other. While I appreciate every one of those people and talk to many of them, I don’t consider them all friends. This isn’t a judgment on any of them. Given the opportunity, we might become besties for life, but it just hasn’t happened yet.

You see I don’t consider people friends unless I would confide in them to some degree. This doesn’t have to be deeply personal stuff, just stuff I wouldn’t post publicly on Twitter for all the world to see. These are the people I can text or call or instant message or email when I get bad news or awesome news or just need someone to talk to.

It’s come to my attention recently that other people don’t look at it that way. They see all their Twitter followers as friends. I’ll admit I’m tremendously confused by this. I’ve been told in the past that I’m very open on Twitter. That’s true. I figure if people are using Twitter to get to know me, they may as well get to know the real deal. However, I’m just not comfortable with the idea of treating Twitter like a conference call with a group of my girlfriends. There are just some things that don’t get aired publicly.

But the people I know who refer to all their followers as friends don’t do that. Their Twitteraction might be playful, but it isn’t an in-depth look into their life. It’s more like a tiny surface sample of their personality.

So is it me? Am I the one who has a skewed view of friendship? Are all your Twitter followers friends? Or do you differentiate between those you share more with and those who just get the “surface you” (however deep that surface goes)?

But hey, Nathan Fillion, if we’re friends, let’s get together for drinks when I’m in LA this April…


  1. Actually, I'd say I'm pretty close to your viewpoint. Most of the people who I follow me or that I follow are not actual friends. The majority are not people I have contact with outside ff Twitter; like you I don't call or email them with good or bad news or just to chat. Some are friendly acquaintances, but they still fall outside of the friend category. Most get the surface me.

  2. Sigh, some day I will type a post without any errors. The sad thing is, I DID proofread. Oh well.

  3. I don't follow many people. Most of the ones I do are friends, but that's because they're people i know from outside twitter (like you).

  4. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Julie Klumb and BeaCharmed, Seleste deLaney. Seleste deLaney said: So are you a friend or a follower? Or is there a difference? [...]

  5. I think it depends on how you use twitter. Some people have their account locked, so that they don't share certain things with the world at large. Some do it to hide their silliness from people in their RL who wouldn't approve, understand or enjoy it. Those are the ones who, IMO, think of their followers as friends, people who they share a hidden side with. Twitter is their dirty little secret. And by virtue of locking their account, they can 'be themselves' without concern.
    I like to be goofy, silly, occasionally risque on Twitter, basically I like to be myself. But I don't lock down my posts, so I would say that I'm more like you. The people there are acquaintances, or followers, but rarely actual friends.

  6. Yep, I definitely feel the same as you do! Although rather than friends, I'll say "Oh, I know this person" if they are somone beyond a Twitter follower (since technically, someone who follows you and you follow is your "friend" on Twitter and the terminology all goes haywire). And that "knowing" is not neccessarily in person, but I wouldn't say I "know" all my followers!


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