“A friend to all is a friend to none.” – Aristotle
In my small circle of friends it seems that the subject of friendship has been coming up on a regular basis of late. In the virtual world it is readily apparent for all to see who you claim as friend or foe by default based on who is on the “list” and who is not. Many people wear their friends list like a coat of arms. It displays where your loyalties lie. Some people believe that it is a status symbol based on how the quantity or “quality” measure up.
Part I – Managing my friends list
Like most things there are rarely a clear set of rules, but I am going to lay out my own theory as to how I manage my “lists.” I actually manage my worlds with a different set of parameters.
- Plurk – I will add just about anybody to plurk. You can choose your designation as fan or friend, and I will pretty much follow your lead. If you are boring or annoying then I will not follow your timeline, but I am not going to remove you from my list. I do look at everybody that adds me, more as a curiousity than anything, but that is about it. I never really maintain this list. I blend a lot of RL and SL type stuff on my timeline.
- Second Life – I am a little more requiring of my SL friends list. If I don’t know you then you are not on my list. We have to either be friends or have some mutual reason to be working together on a project. I might accept your request today, but then remove you tomorrow if I don’t know you. I tend to clean my list on a regular basis. When I am in SL, I am very protective of my RL and it rarely comes up.
- Yahoo/Skype/MSN – This list is even more restrictive for me. I personally am almost always on yahoo when I am online. I only have a very small handful of virtual friends that make this list. If I am working on a blog post, or playing WoW or whatever, then I can always be reached by yahoo, which is why I keep it pretty limited. Yahoo is pretty much my, “hey I need to get ahold of so and so” type system for whatever reason. This is where Jell and I do most of our talking when we are both online.
- Facebook/Myspace – I personally only use facebook, but dabbled in myspace in the past. For me this is for RL people only. I have all my high school classmates, siblings, and other significant people in my life on here. If I started talking about SL and HawksRock Gunawan, people would be looking at me with a glazed over look and be totally lost.
- Cell phone/Address – Nobody has my number or address unless you live in Kansas and have dinner with me at least twice a week. This is one line that I do not cross with even my best friends, and not only because I am cheap and go for one of the cheaper cell plans. I am readily available online, and am private enough to keep just close RL friends and family in my phone.
This system works great for me from my experience. As you can see, you don’t glean much from who is on my plurk list, but as you move up the scale it reflects how close someone is to my innermost circle. For my next post, I am going to tackle the much more gray area of who is on your partner’s list and how much input is healthy.
But for now, I will leave you with a quick message from our sponsor: Troof Designs.