Thursday, August 23, 2012

The skewed definition of friendship in social networking; redefining social media friendship.

This is my personal opinion and reflects values that I hold dear and deep in my heart! If you find them helpful, then incorporate it into your online etiquette folder and use them at all times! The realm of personal choice has absolutely no bearing whatsoever when it comes to family! They are people who you find yourself in the same boat, cruising along through this amazing journey called life! Your best bet? Find a way to have fun with them as you cruise along! Friends on the other hand, are where personal choice reigns supreme! You have ample latitude to choose whom you deem worthy to be part of your circle. You can and have absolute right to exercise that power of choice how you deem fit and narrow or expand your personal criteria according to who you are! As much as people try to deny it, friends are really a reflection of who we truly are for good or for bad!

In the realm of social networking, the same holds true, each person must have a definition of who they call friend and no one should have a say in that definition but them! I find that I have tended to gravitate towards people who share the same interests like me. I love health and fitness, positive living, free spirits, inspiration, beauty, justice, and essentially anything or person that challenges me to be better on a daily basis! As in real life, in the world of social media like fb we run the risk of being in serious trouble if we reduce our standards on who we call friend! Social media should not make us reduce that standard unless we never quite had the standard to begin with! If in four years, (for me) you have never had a “friend” engage you or you engage them, you share nothing in common,. . .they are not your friend! “Engage” for me meaning wishing you a happy birthday, liking each other’s posts that spoke to them, liking each other’s pictures, poking (for some people), saying an occasional hello, or simply poking a friendly jab at you, etc.

Be wary, indeed, be very wary of people who leave no traces of themselves! We must be as territorial and protective of our online spaces/profiles with people who come to scroll through our profiles almost on a daily basis and leave no marks of their visits as we would be in real life about a visitor who constantly drops by our house and leaves no trace of their visit! If there is something about someone that you really like but hate due to your own insecurities (that you need to address) that make you constantly visit their profiles, and then leave feeling worse off, then you must really need that person’s friendship and so must tell them like we usually do when we were 6 or 7 years old. Those good old days, when we see people that we like, our child-like innocence makes it easy for us to say something along these lines, “I like you, can you be my friend”? :-))) LOL. . But on a really serious note, often times, these sneaky visitors never mean well! If they mean well, they would say hello or like a post or picture, etc.

In defense of the world of social networking, I have met so many wholesome and wonderful people through Facebook who I have gone on to have relationships with in real life! There are people on my fb friend list that I have never had a conversation with yet, I find them inspiring and enjoy reading their posts or simply following their lives which I find inspiring, chances are that I must have requested their friendship! Occasionally, I click the like button on a particular post by them that speaks directly to me! Those people reserve the right to unfriend me if they find me unworthy of their “friendship standards”. There are others that I really find that I enjoy nothing about them, we have no interactions whatsoever and the only things that we share in common are “mutual friends”. In reality, I also see the huge possibility that they also enjoy nothing about me, leading to a “friendship” that never quite translates to anything! Bottom-line, they are not my friends and the common sense thing to do is unfriend them!

I read with great sadness the story of this incredibly beautiful and seemingly industrious young girl, Cynthia, who was murdered in cold blood in Lagos, Nigeria, by some psychopaths she met on Facebook! I watched the video of the two men confess and was just so angry that human beings have degenerated to the levels of beasts in the wild who hunt for preys! She did nothing wrong! She trusted someone whom she may have spoken with online over a period of time! They betrayed her trust and murdered her! There are millions of people on a daily basis all over the world that have found true love and romance and sometimes even made serious business and professional contacts on social media sites! She unfortunately fell within the statistics of people that were not so fortunate! I pray her family and loved ones find solace in God’s peace and love through this incredibly difficult time!

In conclusion, start today to redefine who you call friends on social media sites! If you don’t have a true, candid or happy reaction towards a particular social media “friend” or their profile did not meet the standards of what you hold dear and true in your heart, use your DELETE button! It is the most powerful tool for online-self-protection on your keyboard! It probably makes sense to use the same standard that you use in real life! I am game! Are you?

Lovingly yours,
Ogor Winnie Okoye