It's wonderful that we can have so many friends, that we have never met. I'm wondering what do we mean by 'friend'? What is the etiquette for friends?

What does an A|N friend mean to you? Do friends get birthday presents? :-)

There will be as many answers as there are people on A|N. I'm interested in what people have to say.

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Practically, that how it seems to work on this site, nothing more. There are many people here I consider as "friends", or "sympathetic like-minded souls", and who aren't in my "Friends List".

Btw, Daniel, I love that picture. It's amazing!
I always thought that becoming "Friends" on a socializing network was a sort of icebreaker, opening the door to further communication on or off the site. Personally, I try to make friends with people that I find interesting or attractive. Does anyone take A/N friendships beyond the realm of atheism? It would be nice to think so.
I do apparently.
Wow, what a topic. You're certainly right about the number of answers. Perhaps naively, "friend" means the same to me online or off. Actually, the vast majority of friends are merely acquaintances, and this seems to carry over way beyond the juvenile high-school period. I have discovered a handful of people on Myspace who I consider actual friends... the people who would help me if I needed it. Most of the others only come by sometimes to leave a blog comment. Some of us are genuinely "anti-social" in the "meat world", and we need these social networking sites in order to avoid being stuck only in a plywood shack in Montana.
I've never been on a social networking site before this, so I'm not experienced with the friend aspect. Scott's comment makes sense - a way to break the ice. Basically "hello". Also, finding people who I really do have some things in common with and want to enjoy their conversation, at least online.

Life can be pretty isolating - I'm not sure that you have to be in a shack in Montana to need a social networking site! I often think of moving to a cabin on, say, Mt. Adams. Especially after a hard day.
Plus there is always the risk of admiring prematurely, then having to talk yourself back out of your affection to some degree or other because of comments and viewpoints by either party that haven’t played out yet that you’re not so keen on.

Heh. I would never come to someone's domicile and burn it down because they removed me from their "friends" list. No, not at all. I wouldn't even have one of my henchpeople do it. That's why minions are good, you've got a built-in social circle. You don't need anyone else.

I'd rather someone remove me because they don't feel we'd be a good match as friends, rather than be "polite". However, if the other person is offended, it's good to know exactly what the offense was. I had someone remove me from their friends list, tell me they were going to do so, that "You know why", and then dumped me before I could even ask. I had no clue! I guess there's some power to be gained by getting in the last word.

Saw about five minutes of "Friends" (the TV show, not the A|N social-networking function) once. That's five minutes of my life I'll never get back.

Only in one case did I get an email address before someone bailed. I don't have the time or energy to get to know 100+ people in depth. Unlike Dr. Terry, I don't feel I can be actual friends with 10,000 plus people. Civil acquaintances, maybe. Like other people have said, the "friend" function of A|N is a tool to let me write people private messages.

Quite often, I think people who delete their profiles don't want any trace of themselves left, despite Ning keeping their comments on comment walls in groups they didn't start. On OKCupid, the way they dealt with that was to keep the comments people made on other people's journals (and in the forums) but deleted the person's user name in association with all their posts.

As for people who get banned, well... I'm happy there's nothing to commemorate them.
"Pretty ephemeral stuff, all this" - a metaphor for life?
Watching you and Judith converse over dinner would be much more interesting than "My Dinner With Andre".
Well, sure, but have you played the My Dinner With Andre video game? It was on The Simpsons once. It looked fascinating.

And Daniel, I don't think it's a metaphor.
Ha! My Dinner With Andre video game? I hope it was more interesting than the film.
I have no clue why so many people have ignored my friend requests.

Default avatars don't help. First thing most people think is it's a theist or some other kind of troll blow in.
Larry, with absolutely no criticism implied, I took another look at your profile and your 'about me' section does sound a bit abrupt and impersonal. I know you're trying to pack a lot of info in, but if you just wrote as if you were trying to introduce yourself to someone in person, it might put a softer spin on your image.

I note that I accepted your friend request some time ago. Not all my friend requests get accepted either. Some people don't understand what 'friendship' means on social networking sites - they think it means they're going to have to agree with you or that if you turn out to be a freak they'll be embarrassed by having befriended you. They see it as a more personal thing than it really is. Don't take it personally, and just enjoy the friends you have. Try to choose friends with whom you've had some interaction and with whom you really think you have something meaningful in common and you're less likely to get rejections.




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