To friend or not friend, that is the question…

“I do not know if this has happened to anybody, but this morning I log on to Facebook and I have a new friend request!” wrote 19-year-old Mike Yeamans, a sophomore at James Madison University, on one of several “No Parents on Facebook” groups that have popped up on the site. “I am excited to make a new friend so I click on the link. I could not believe what I saw. My father! This is an outrage!”

I laughed at that portion of this article. An outrage? Then I thought about for a minute. I’m grown, I can do whatever I want to do so being Facebook friends with my Mom isn’t a big deal. I don’t owe her any explanations on anything I do and I’m not doing anything that would shock her. Actually, I’m not doing anything important that she doesn’t already know. See, I’m the opposite of most people. If I go to the club there aren’t any pictures taken because here, we respect the sanctity of The Club. It’s like Vegas, what happens there stays there. If I’m in a relationship or “dating” a guy I’m not going to hide it because I’m grown. She already knows my offline friends so there honestly isn’t anything juicy for her to see. Hence, I don’t care. I realize that is not the norm. The norm, especially college age, would be this:

“Don’t get me wrong,” said Yeamans, who is a computer information systems major. “I love my parents, but there are some parts of my college experience that I want to keep to myself. I chose to go away to school so I could experience a little freedom.”

Can you imagine the situation where a parent asks for a friend request, the child rejects it and the parent says, “Well, I AM paying your tuition…”. Ouch.

Replace parent with your co-workers. Your boss. Your ex. Your in-laws. It’s coming if it hasn’t already happened to you. Again, I’m the exception to this rule. My business partners are my co-workers, our parents accept what we do (which isn’t the norm for most people), my ex’s follow what I do and know about each other and I have no in-laws. Imagine if your girl/boyfriend’s Mom wanted to be your friend, would that be a nightmare situation for you? As the article mentioned teenagers are having the same problem (but I have no problem with parents having access to what minors do). Let’s be real, when Facebook started the average parent could not join because it was for college students. The only “real” problem college students had to worry about were ex’s. It was their playground to romp around in.

It’s coming: social networks need to adapt levels of friendship because all “friends” are not created equal. Of course those with limited access will figure out they are being restricted, then what will you do?

Instead, take control of the situation. Social networks make it very easy to share your life, that doesn’t mean you should do it. Most things aren’t meant to be public.