Facebook famously co-opted the word “friend” and created a new verb.
This NYTimes’ article, “Are 5,001 Facebook Friends One Too Many?,” as well as the fact that Facebook apparently isn’t going away anytime soon with the failed “Quit Facebook Day,” got me thinking about how I choose “friends” on FB.
I used to have this crazy rule that I needed to at least have had a drink with someone before I accepted or extended a “friendship.” Better yet if I can recall the topic of our last conversation. Then I noticed how many of my old high school friends were on FB and it would nearly be impossible to go by the “drink” or “last conversation” rule.
And then I noticed how some folks were using it as their own branding tool and used it to extend their network. I would imagine that these folks accepted any request for friendship. I tried that out for a bit but quickly realized my news feed became all but meaningless. Now, I’m a bit more selective in industry circles, as I continue to use Facebook for personal social networks and Twitter for professional networks for the most part.
On occasion, my wife and I play this little game where she goes down through my list of friends on Facebook and if I can’t identify how I know them within five seconds, I un-friend them.
The business obit story of H. Edwards Roberts, inventor of the personal computer and early mentor to Bill Gates, reminded me of a post I’ve been meaning to write ever since reading Malcolm Gladwell’s “Outliers”: to thank those who gave me extraordinary opportunities.
It’s not an exhaustive list by all means. The list doesn’t include family members and significant others who all deeply influence who I am daily.
But from friends, co-workers, teachers and to everyone in between, the people I have connections with affect me in one way or another. And there are individuals who have gone above and beyond the role of mentor. These friends inspire, open new doors and encourage me to expand on who I am without pressure or judgment. I’d like to recognize a few:
To those above… I want to say thank you for your belief in me and for preparing me to go beyond my own abilities.
I hope to add more as life continues to expose me to great people and/or remind me of those I’ve met in the past but whose influence I didn’t come to realize back then. And I hope that I can, in turn, offer extraordinary opportunities to others.