What Makes a Friend on Facebook or Twitter?

Friends in the online world.

best-friends_three-women-smiling_c1

Who is your friend? How do you make friends? How do you qualify your relationships?

Is it someone with whom you share time or a past? One who expresses their love or affection? A group with a common purpose? Someone who shares information or knowledge? A random stranger’s request for “Friendship”?

Our real world applications of “friendship” have rapidly been expanded to and on the internet.

That phone call to just talk, the invite for a walk or a coffee; the quality time spent with someone who cares for or about you is now supplemented in building relationships with individuals for whom you find their content of interest or may share something in common.

We don’t make friends, we discover them.  – Quincy Jones

Now, you can discover “friends” with whom you share things or keywords in common, or even spend time with.

Social media websites and services like Facebook, Twitter, Meetup enable greater access to a multitude of like minded individuals, groups, products and organizations you discover via key words in your profile and direct search feature.

At the 2009 SXSW conference, Grammy winning producer, composer and arranger Quincy Jones opined, “We don’t make friends, we discover them.”With the help of their algorithms, services like LinkedIN and Plaxo help users by suggesting contacts as “People you may know” based on an internal recommender system.

This enables us to be found more broadly on the internet. We are now searching for mutual friends, acquaintances, play buddies, dates, chatterers, and followers, who share something in common with our Favorite Books and Movies,  high School Attended, Friends in Common or content shared.

Our need to connect and be connected to what used to be mere acquaintances is now extended even to complete strangers.

Wall Street Journal Senior Science writer, Julia Angwin was rather amazed that random unknown individuals would want to consume her content on Twitter. “Unlike Facebook, where I know each and every one of my 287 friends, I have never met or heard of the majority of the 221 people following me on Twitter.” I personally found it delightful when others requested friendship on my Facebook because they heard about my haiku status updates from friends.

The point is to produce authentic content that others can follow, share or participate within. The strength of building an audience of followers enables you to develop an interest-oriented fan base that consumes and shares your content and one which you can collaborate with you in return to build community and to create new knowledge.

We can now uncovered hidden networks to extended our reach and to develop new relationships; from new friends who play Mob Wars, to business associates from a past job, to extended family members, or a new discussion group.

Unlike Facebook, where I know each and every one of my 287 friends,
I have never met or heard of the majority of the 221 people
following me on Twitter.
– Julia Angwin

In his address, Quincy Jones cites love and “a mutual sense of trust and respect” as central to a meaningful and successful relationship. So where is the love when someone “throws a sheep” at you or claims “we have several mutual friends in common”?

Well, like it can say on a Facebook user’s relationship status, “It’s complicated.”

What’s in an online relationship?

Relationships have changed; or at least our openness to have more relationships has. The utility in extending one’s personal, social and professional networks to express their influence, seek support in community and to develop knowledge has greatly increased now that we are becoming more social online.

How will you extended your business relationships? What pictures will you comment on of that perfect sunset? What conversations will you join or start?

Who will you discover today?

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1 Response to “What Makes a Friend on Facebook or Twitter?”



  1. 1 Cómo solucionar las peleas entre tus mejores amigas | Teens Trackback on June 3, 2010 at 6:02 am

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