Are We “Friends” or are we FRIENDS: Blurring Lines in Social Media

Lack of judgment when it comes to Facebook and other social media is disturbing.

My building and the organization that runs it has a pretty strict policy about social media. As an employee, I am forbidden to list my place of employment on my Facebook page, on my blog, in any blog post, or on any type of digital media. We are also forbidden from “Friending” any of our patients or their family members on social media outlets. I don’t know if it’s official policy, but I also don’t friend my co-workers. I figure if I wouldn’t tell them all about my life or hang out with them outside of the building, what’s the point?

I work in a nursing home. I’m on-call, so I float and fill in where ever they need me to be. I work on every floor, in every section, with every resident in the building. Most are sweet and kind, or at the very least they are indifferent or have dementia. But there’s one–just one– who is just plain not nice.

He is difficult for everyone who works with him, has been known to make false accusations, and is just generally a pain in the rear most of the time. He’s also very self-sufficient and pretty much does his own thing. He uses the computer a lot, he’s on Facebook and I don’t know what else. He’s pretty tech savvy for an old guy living in a long-term care facility.

Last weekend, I heard him ask one of my co-workers if she saw his Facebook update and got his email afterward.


I became curious, so I looked him up on Facebook. His profile is private (as is mine) but his friends list isn’t. As I scrolled down his friends list, I became more and more disturbed. I counted 16 of my co-workers there– and we have over 80 so I’m sure I don’t know all of their names. But there were enough. The social media policy notwithstanding, this is a guy who is NOT pleasant to work with. WHY would someone want to let him Friend them?

Is it just me, or is there a disconnect now… a blurred line where just anyone can come right in and make themselves at home? Social media has opened our lives to the world, but only when you give it permission. And we’re giving it. We don’t even think twice about what we say, or who we say it to. And in most cases, we’re saying it to everyone on our Friend’s Lists. There used to be a point when work stayed at work, our personal lives were just that: personal. For me, that is still the case. For many, it is not.

This is forcing me to evaluate myself in some hard ways. I don’t friend people I don’t know. Wait, yes I do but I didn’t before. I didn’t before I started attending blogging conferences and meeting people– and not meeting people– and now when I get the friend requests I usually approve them if they are blogger I “know”. Or should I say, a blogger I have heard of or interacted with before.

And now I’m thinking that maybe I need to stop doing that and do a Facebook Friend purge.

Granted, some of the bloggers I’ve met and KNOW and LOVE and I am so grateful, so THANKFUL for their friendships. But others?

It brings me back to my initial idea that if I don’t know them, wouldn’t (or don’t) hang out with them, why am I Facebook “friends” with them?

So there’s the rub. I don’t want to “diss” anyone by unfriending them, because I am really way past believing that everyone online is an internet stalker or axe murderer. On the other hand, couldn’t they just follow my blog’s FB page and get updates that way? Could we be friends through the blog pages first?

I am really struggling with what to do now.

 I want to hear your thoughts on this! All of them

5 thoughts on “Are We “Friends” or are we FRIENDS: Blurring Lines in Social Media”

  1. First of all, Facebook is not private, and not really for close friendships, IMO. Privacy rules are a moving target, so I don’t post anything truly personal on my FB. I think your employer is wise to have rules, and it’s too bad that others don’t follow them.

    My FB is not under my real name, does not have my real birthday, and I never post photos of my family.

    I have very few “close” friends at this point because I left the work force to raise a child late in life and my work friends “fell away.” My liberal Methodist church friends flat out abandoned me when I went rogue (pro-life and started homeschooling). There are a few “friends” on FB that I seem to have a lot in common with and are good FB acquaintances that I pray for when asked, and keep up with, but we aren’t good friends IRL, we aren’t even in the same part of the country.

    I have lots and lots of homeschool FB “friends” mainly because they post articles, artwork, Scripture – things related to homeschooling that are helpful or encouraging. But they are FB friends not IRL “friends.”

    If you are looking to bump up your page count on your blog page – ask your friends to like your page. Then simply go through your list and put people that you don’t really know on your “restricted” list. They won’t get posts from your personal FB unless the post is designated Public (the world icon).

    It’s a wacky world isn’t it?!

  2. I don’t generally add bloggers, unless I have met them IRL. I have a few then I wonder why? We don’t interact at all. I’m with you though, don’t want to be snubbed for deleting. Hmmm

  3. I have 354 friends on Facebook. I’m going to spend some time today going through and deleting obviously NOT friend-ish people, which includes local acquaintances I don’t/wouldn’t keep in touch with, and see where I can go from there. I wish Facebook gave us an easy way to TRANSFER people from one friends list to another! See, like you, Heather (Spritti) and others I do know in person, and consider to be actual friends… but so many I just don’t really know but have worked with or interacted with online… that’s the struggle I’m having.

  4. It’s your account and you need to do whatever makes you feel safe. I think people take it too personally when friends unfriend one another in social networks. I know I used to feel that way. But in reality, a real friendship isn’t reliant on FB. Real friends call each other, email, snail mail, and visit in person as often as their schedules allow. Also, not everyone wants to read our mommy moments of baby vomit or our political rants. Just because people aren’t connected on FB doesn’t mean they are unloved. Not everyone is social savvy enough to know how to make lists, hide updates etc or maybe they don’t want to learn how. That’s ok. I think we need to give everyone the freedom to decide what THEY want for their FB wall without getting bent out of shape over it. I am very cautious who I add on FB and I have disconnected with hundreds over the last few months.

    • I know you have! I’m slowly working through and adding people to my Restricted list, and deleting non-friends or bloggers I don’t know IRL. It’s odd though…


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