[Air-l] Facebook and privacy

Rasputin rasputin at sukinsyn.com
Sun Sep 10 12:51:05 PDT 2006

Several days ago someone pointed out that certain age groups tend to confuse
acquaintances with friends. I have heard teens say "he/she is my friend."
when they couldn't remember that person's last name. This kind of usage
suggests friendship with the lack of the intimacy and trust normally
associated. If the expectation of this trust exists then one would get upset
if a violation is presumed to have occurred.

It would be as if we assumed that all AIR-1 members were "friends." Fancy


-----Original Message-----
From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org
[mailto:air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Kevin Guidry
Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2006 1:30 PM
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Subject: Re: [Air-l] Facebook and privacy

On 9/9/06, danah boyd <aoir.z3z at danah.org> wrote:
> Why does everyone assume that Friends equals friends?

   At the risk of sounding trite: because they're the same word.
Those who created and maintain Facebook didn't pick that work out of
the air.  They may not have thought of all of the implications of
using established terminology in a different way in a different
context.  Or they may have simply decided that the advantages of using
established terminology outweighed the potential drawbacks.  In any
case, they certainly chose that word because of its meanings and
connotations and this confusion is the price you pay for overloading a
very common word with strong emotional meanings.

> The term "friend" in the context of social network sites is not the
> same as in everyday vernacular. And people know this.

   It appears to me that most of the confusion is experienced by those
who have little or no experience in the alternative contexts -
journalists, politicians, parents, etc.- in which the word is used.
And thus their confusion is completely understandable.

   I don't think that most of us are confusing these two concepts.
But the fact that these two concepts are represented by the same
symbol certainly does make it all (use, discussion, analysis,
meta-analysis, etc.) very...confusing.

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