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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I'd accept a beer or a coffee from any of my A|N friends. Seems we're perfectly matched.
I just assumed my A|N friends would care for me in my dotage, which should start in twenty minutes or so, by my watch.

Actually, I think of A|N's friend status as a way of letting people know I'm a fan. We only have each other's writing to go by, so my A|N friends are people whose writing I enjoy, whether I agree completely with everything they say. Having said that, I think people use masks IRL too, so I don't think of my interactions on A|N as any less real or less social than anywhere else. In some ways, it's a more personal connection, because we tend to talk openly here about things that really matter to us, whereas we probably restrain ourselves mightily at family gatherings and such.

Several people have mentioned the shortcomings of Facebook. I too find it alienating, which is bad news for the people who run it. It's never good when your product or service does the exact opposite of what you'd hoped. I find the Facebook UI annoying and baffling, I don't trust the apps with my personal data so I don't use them, and most interactions on Facebook seem to be remarkably superficial if not simply noise. The worst problem with Facebook, though is the inability (at least, I can't seem to figure it out) to create circles of friends with different interests that you can talk to without everybody else listening in. It's as if the Facebook designers just assume that every friend will be equally interested in every other friend's every interest. I'm sorry, but even if I wanted to keep up with an exponential stream of personal hobby updates, I couldn't. A|N is a much more compelling experience for me.
A|N is a much more compelling experience for me.

I can log-off anytime... really I can.
It's rare for me to add people to my friend's list. It's also rare for me to instigate one on one communication with anyone I haven't had time to get comfortable with. I'm the sort of person that's fairly shy socially, but once you get to know me (or pass me a drink) morph into The Chatterer. I just don't like feeling as if I've forced the babbling creature you wind up with on anyone.

There is a portion of my friend's list on A/N consisting of people I know personally. The rest I've included as an open invitation to pm me, read my blog, leave comments on my profile, etc. In other words, my A/N friends are either people I already know, or those I'd be open to getting to know better.



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