I have always found it odd that Facebook use the word ‘friend’ to identify the people we connect with. Yes, there are true friends we know, who we ALSO connect with via Facebook, but there’s no classification for those who we have never even met face to face, yet find interesting enough to ‘friend’.
If we ever doubt the chasm between our friends and Facebook friends, we need only look at the way they interact with us on Facebook. Imagine Bob or Barbara is your Facebook friend, they read a Facebook update of yours and find it useful or they agree with whatever you said – so they ‘like’ it. One click. Done. Simple.
So, as they like it enough to click ‘like’, why didn’t they share it with their ‘friends’?
I asked this question once and had lots of replies (dozens) – almost all of which said that something has to be AMAZING in order for them to share it. If it’s just useful, interesting or something they agree with, they won’t make the extra effort to click the share button and maybe insert a handful of words to explain why they are sharing it. It’s just too much effort. It requires more work from them.
A Facebook friend may have never met you or even spoken with you, let alone shared the kind of experiences with you that builds true friendship. They need a lot more motivation than a real friend, if you want them to go to the extra effort of sharing your work. Otherwise, it’s a ‘like’.
Friendship that goes beyond a ‘like’
A true friend is someone you know well. Someone who supports you and who you support in return. Someone you can confide in. Someone who you know will be there for you if you needed them. A Facebook friend is often someone you have never even met. Don’t expect too much from them. Don’t be like the guy I saw earlier, who was going nuts because his Facebook post got 50 ‘likes’ and not a single share.
Rather than get frustrated with Facebook friends for their lack of true support, maybe this is a better way to look at it: A click of the ‘like’ button, from someone you have never met, is actually very generous.