Yet Another Facebook Story: Intimacy Problems

Tangerine Toad believes that sites like Facebook promote an “unnatural degree of intimacy.” I’m inclined to agree with him.

So there’s an art director I work with who asked to “friend” me on Facebook.
Now this art director seems like a nice enough guy, his office is not far from mine and I say hello to him in the hallway. But honestly, friends, all I know about him is his name and the state he hails from (long, not-very-interesting story). I don’t know what accounts he works on, who his friends are, where he’s worked previously: none of that.
But now, due to Facebook, which he is quite active about updating regularly, I know all sorts of things about him.

Personally, I resisted joining MySpace and Facebook as long as I could. I finally caved because my job requires that I stay up on things. In other words, it’s pretty lame to plan a soc net strategy for a client, when you are not active in the community. So, I’m a member of both now. As such, I’ve wasted untold hours tending to my profiles. And I continue to be distracted by email alerts telling me I have an email, not in my inbox where it should be, but on Facebook.
So clearly, I have my own problems with Facebook. But what about Toad’s intimacy issue? On the surface, it seems simple enough—delete one’s profile so it’s a non-issue. Or keep the profile going for whatever reason, and then as requests come in, say. “I’m glad you want to be my friend, let’s go to lunch.” Or in the case of a long-distance friendship, say, “Let’s talk on the phone.”
Of course, it’s not really that simple. For these friend requests don’t equate to actual friendships. Rather such a request means, “Let’s be virtual friends.” There’s something maddening about that.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.