I was contacted on Facebook earlier today by a couple of people asking to be my friends, which started me thinking about the subject in general. I don't know these people, they are friends of friends, and Facebook had suggested that they might like to friend me.
Friend means different things in different places, and has different implications. I would never add someone to my MSN list unless I felt I knoew them fairly well, although I have added people I have only met in SL, and not in real life. When I joined Kaneva I found that people regarded friending as simply a way of building up a profile, and at the beginning everyone would fall on a newbie and friend them.
In Second Life, most of my friends are people I know pretty well, because I purge my list after a month or so... if I have allowed someone to befriend me and they haven't talked to me since, then I will purge them from my list.
I did something I have been meaning to do for some time - I removed the people from my friend's list that I simply knew by repute or because we had inhabited the same mailing lists etc, and pared my friends list down to people I feel I know really well. Then I felt less mean about refusing the friendship requests I had this morning.
My feeling is that I have quite a lot of public places where people can contact me - on twitter, by email, in Second Life. I don't need to invite them into my facebook in order for them to contact me if they wish to do so. Sorry if I purged you.
5 hours ago