Thursday, September 27, 2007

the problem of 'friends' in a postmodern world

i was at uni yesterday talking to the good doctor k, and she was telling me about the problem with people wanting to add themselves as her friend etc on facebook when she may actually know and dislike said person. what does one do? how long can one ignore this imposter? and how are we to deal with this particularly post modern situation where we make these web communities in order to reach out from our isolation, only to find ourselves creating virtual gated communities?

it was funny that dr k should be talking about this yesterday given a dilemma i have encountered with ravelry. firstly, its gated, and im totally, completely and utterly anti-elitist, but i do realise its still in beta, theres server bandwidth to consider, and theres also the marketing angle, where you create desire for something by keeping it a little bit hidden for a while. still, its weird being part of something that other non-members cant look at, so i hope they open it up as soon as is practicable.

then, theres the friend issue. i added some people to my ravelry friends, people i have actually met and some i have communicated with via blogs. i stayed at 6 friends for a while (like a whole 24 hours), because they were the only ones i felt comfortable adding, given that people are told you are being added as a friend. but 6 is a very little amount of friends in ravelry world, and then theres the fact that people here are friends to the extent that i want to gawk at their projects and steal their ideas (again, a very post modern notion of friendship, i suspect). anyway, today i have been adding people whose blogs i have read, or who i know about from other peoples blogs, but i have not really communicated with them much myself.

so im feeling a little bit uneasy about it, and im sure they will be like, well who is this person? but at least in ravelry its all about the yarn, and yarn does not discriminate.

i hope.

the puzzled
k (i need an emoticon for 'puzzled')

12 comments:

Rose Red said...

I've thought about this too, re Ravelry. I've pretty much only friended people who's blogs I read and who read mine (and we each comment on each others). Some "strangers" have friended me and I didn't friend them back (and kind of felt guilty about it!). But some people "friend" because they like your projects etc, not because they "know" you, so I guess the secret is to be pretty relaxed about friending - not taking offence if people don't friend you and vice versa.

Taphophile said...

Oh I'm so over the popularity contest side of blogging and Ravelry. I'd prefer a few good friends wherever they are - people whose company I enjoy, or whose society I find stimulating.

It's nice if someone "friends", but it isn't essential.

I was dead chuffed when YOU friended me, though. :)

2paw said...

Yes, I think, 'Who is this person???'!!! But there you go, I have 'met' lots of people internetally and there has to be A First Contact situation!!!
I'll 'friend' you right back!!!

kms said...

im glad im not the only one feeling weird about it! i am happy with my little coterie now tho and will stick to friending people whos blogs i actually read!

Bells said...

I was the same when I signed up but as someone somewhere put the other day, it's not like this is myspace or facebook where people just want to get the numbers up. It's about the YARN! I don't want to let my list get too big, just because I want to be able to keep an eye on a manageable number of people.

But I just go with the flow now.

Margie said...

I was having this discussion the other day as well with a friend about facebook. I don't actually want to friend people I don't like because then I get news about them in my newsfeed and I don't want to hear about them! But then people who are friends with them who you do like do stuff with them and it still comes up in your newsfeed. I don't really get the competition side of getting numbers up. I don't honestly believe anyone with 500 friends actually has 500 friends and I find it offensive when people try to friend me just to get their numbers up. Just cause we've met doesn't mean we're friends. Some cases I actively dislike them and they still want to friend me. Nutcases.

It's the same with feedback on etsy and ebay though. There is a massive stigma attached to giving even neutral feedback. So the whole thing is so artificial anyway. I got something on etsy recently that I'm really not happy with and I've been debating for a week whether I should give even neutral feedback which is crazy because the thing is really badly made and I'm not happy and so it should be negative!

Ai ia ia. I'm with you Taph, the politics is too much. Should stick with real life friends and real life shops.....

TinkingBell said...

Too right - I'm quite happy with my blog friends being my friends on Ravelry - There's one knitter who made some great stuff - and was a neighbour, ravelrywise and we 'friended', but that's it really - I'd sooner my friends be actual friends (cyberwise, of course) than heaps of strangers with whom I have naff all in common!

Michelle said...

You've written a post I almost wrote! After a few days I overcame my discomfort by commenting on people's projects I saw and liked, and then adding them. Then they won't think I'm too much of a stalker (*hopes*).

booksherpa said...

So far I've friended everyone who's friended me, but I also never check my friends page, so I don't feel like I'm creating this monster page of stuff. :)

The impression I've gotten about the gated aspect is that what's holding them back is not computer bandwidth, but people bandwidth. Adding umpteen thousand users all at once would flood Jess and Casey with email (bug reports, complaints, invitation problems, requests to be added as yarnie/designer, etc.) and make them unable to work on the site. There's plenty of volunteers, but there's still a lot only J&C can do. for that reason, I think the gated thing isn't a marketing ploy. I suspect that if Oprah showed up at their place tomorrow with a camera crew, there'd be a large quantity of "Not yet!!!" in their reaction. :) I'm just guessing, though.

kms said...

oh i didnt mean they were keeping it gated for evil reasons, i totally get its still in beta and theres a lot to work on, and they are doing a great job. my husband is a code monkey and he is really impressed with the way they have built it. and so far ive had no bugs at all. its just that now everyones talking about it, everyone whos not in wants in! for good reason i think.

Jejune said...

Is there such a thing as Blogging Burnout, or Online Overload?? I'm heading that way...! :)

I actually got overloaded / fed up with Facebook, and deactivated my account a few weeks ago - I had plenty of people who were friends, but also a couple (not knitting pals) who I knew in real life and didn't like much, but added me as a friend... I just don't have the time or energy to even think about it. Blogging is quite enough, with a small(ish) group of friends. I'll keep it the same for Ravelry, I'm really not out to find heaps of new friends, I mainly like the record-keeping aspects of it so far. I'm only 'friending' people I actually know.

Knitty Bug said...

Hey I just found you on Ravelry, I'm getting used to the friends adding thingy too. At the moment I'm just starting to add people who's blogs I read, and share comments etc.
So many lovely projects to look at, so little time - hehehehe