Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Why do a lot of Facebookers and LinkedInners want to collect thousands of friends?

I really don't understand and am sincerely interested!

I got myself an account on Facebook in 2007.
At the beginning I tracked down my friends, fellow artists I know in person, people from the past etc..
I was fun to communicate through this medium.
When I received friend-requests from unknown people I refused for the simple reason that I did not know them.
Nowadays most of the time the new connections come through friend-requests I receive.
I post links to my blogposts on Facebook, for the interested friends who wanted to connect themselves, and furthermore I comment on my friends messages. Also there's a bit of teasing and making fun!

I noticed that a lot of people are collecting friends.
I can understand if you admire an artist/popstar/writer/actor/musicians etc..., and you want to follow this person or group.
But what does it bring an average person to have thousands of friends? I'm really curious.
I consider myself an average person. I accepted friend requests from people who want to follow me as an artist, but I'm no Moby or Madonna.
What struck me, is that some fellow artists send requests to everybody, and after you accepted those requests, and became friends, they never show any interest in you.
In my opinion the friendship is more or less forced upon you. And only one-way. It looks a lot like spam.
Some people have no other activity on their wall then their daily completion of new friends.

Why do people collect so many friends through social media?
Is it because one derives their identity from their number of friends?
Or the amount of famous people one is connected to?
Is it opportunism, and trying to ride along with succesful people?
Is it because one thinks one can become sort of famous this way?
Is it for professional marketing purposes? And does this have satisfying results (when you're not already a famous person)
Because if everyone has got thousands of friends, their news feed-page gets stuck with messages from all those people and one can not see the wood for the trees anymore.
One cannot be famous amongst millions of famous people.

What I'm I missing if I don't start collecting lots of friends?

Who has the answers?


  1. I know what you mean Esther and I guess in many ways it does all seem pretty whacky.
    I do Twitter and Stumble Upon for a person who "pays" me to do it for him. He has about 15K followers now. I have maybe 3K, can't remember at the moment. My friend makes a living through his efforts online. Yup, some people do.
    It is true what you wrote that some new followers or friends breeze in and out of conversation with us. Yet, I have gained a few friends online who have remained friends, that I connect with periodically. I have gained wisdom from some that I have had just short conversations with, for different circumstances and so they have served their purpose as temporary online friends.
    I think sometimes I gain a certain propping up when I need it, from perfect strangers really. They compliment my art and the feeling that I gain from that is all warm and fuzzy and it encourages me telling me that I am on the right track. As you know we as artists never "arrive" as artists, it is continual and can oft times be frustrating as hell. Sometimes I tell my husband that I completely stink as an artist and that I hate it and in turn hate me too! lol ~ I usually say stuff like that when something is wrong with a painting I am working on and it's keeping me awake at night. It helps me anyway to get some propping.
    I actually met Bob Hogge online... so I think that has been a HUGE payback for my online efforts.
    OK.. these are just some quick off the top of my head thoughts. Smile. I am one of your friends online, one who follows you, reads what you post occasionally, so here is a great BIG online sloppy wet kiss: XXX ~Kathy

  2. Thank you Kathy!
    For me it's the same! I've accepted some friend requests of fellow artists I never heard of before, but with whom I now sometimes exchange ideas, thoughts. I really like that!
    Also, when people I've never heard of before show interest in my art, send sincere compliments etc... this gives me wings and I feel really grateful. It's even nicer when after the first compliments you stay in touch every now and then.
    But I must say... if I want to exchange messages/ideas/reactions daily with all of my current 168 Facebook friends... I'm not able to work anymore!
    It's fun and good to connect with fellow artists who work with the same gallery (like you and me) or artists you've met in person. That way you can follow your colleagues' weal and woe occassionally!
    What I do not understand is that nowadays I receive more and more friend requests, which after accepting appear to be requests for their own benefit only. They show no interest at all in who I am, or what I do. It's only about him or her.
    I realize that sometimes this is not on purpose. But sometimes it is.
    Of course there's a delete-button... ;-)
    Anyway... I'm still curious for answers!

  3. I think i would request only on seeing your profile picture! :p

  4. replying anonymously... you coward! :-P

  5. It's all a mystery to me Esther, yet seems as if this is the wave of the future. Do you realize so many young people can not write cursive? They are so accumulated to the keyboard that they can just print. A lost artistic expression.

    Anyway, I have been attempting to go with the flow and have reconnected with so many from the past. Nostalgic but hasn't produced any additional income.

    So curious where it will lead. Best of luck!

  6. Hi Esther, I joined Facebook a few weeks ago at the request of a fellow artist. I tend to agree with you regarding its relative lack of relevance when it comes to the cumulation of pseudo friends! Using the Facebook account to open up a fan page is probably a better avenue to spread the word about one's art (you can monitor the number of people who like your work). I also find interesting to look at the stats in blogger (number of hits and where they come from)...

  7. Thank you Susan. I like the wave of the future. Life means changes. It's a pity that some things are lost, but that's the way it works. One door closes, another one opens...

    Hi Ron. The thing about opening up a fan page on Facebook is, in my opinion, that I don't think I should be me making my own fanpage. A fanpage is made by a fan. I get lots of invitations from other artists to become their fan (nowadays it's 'LIKES'). But in my opinion you cannot force yourself upon someone else. I become a fan of someone because I really like/admire someone. Not when someone asks me. Also... I might like someone in person very much, but might NOT like the art he/she makes. Dilemma: Should I become a fan? Lots of artists are offended when you say you're not fond of their art, and it's difficult to tell someone you really like, that you do not like his/her art...

    LOL... analyzing everything I asked above, and my own answers on the comments, I have to say that the conclusion is that I should not take life to serious... nor Facebook. (sorry, I talk a lot to myself!)

  8. Hi Esther, I see what you mean. I think "Fan page" is just the semantic used by Facebook. It's a Facebook address opened to the public at large like a blog... in my view, just another prong allowing you to access the public... but without having to cater to "friends" it seems! I don't know too much about it, Kent Williams, an artist in my list has one... also Van den Boog in your neck of the woods :)