Is It Time To Redefine ‘Friend’?

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First of two posts today. The second (Actions Speak Louder Than ‘Scores’) is here.

My friend, no my mentor, no my acquaintance, no my hero, no my associate, no just plain @MattSingley just posted this: Renewing The Line Between Public And Private where he explains his decision to launch a Fan Page on Facebook even though he hates the term (and I couldn’t concur more strongly).

But as he points out, it’s tough.

He’s a very public guy, but is Facebook the domain of his ‘friends’ or ‘connections’?

That last sentence sums up my main issue / question: What do we call all these great people we ‘meet’ via Social Media? 

Connections is a bit cold, but friends?!? I’ve only met a handful of the people I’m connected to via Social Media in ‘real life’ but I really like so many of the relationships I’ve started to develop…and if I had my choice I’d have 6 billion of them. But practicality and safety say otherwise.

So, do we need a new word / term?

Maybe a definition is pointless, but as I touched on a few weeks back when we defined social media in 140 characters, a good definition lays the foundation for everything else.

And, if someone comes up with a good one, should it be added alongside ‘fan’ pages on Facebook so we have tree tiers? Or has the world just gone COMPLETELY mad?

I’d love to hear your thoughts…you know where the comments box is…

Thanks for dropping by my friend, contact, reader, human, bot etc 🙂


P.S Just for the record, my life has been totally enriched by Social Media so I can only say that the great people I’ve ‘met’ have been a blessing…but there’s always an element of ‘grey’ that can’t be avoided, sadly.


  • Reply February 26, 2010


    The first one that springs to mind is a ‘connect’ or ‘connection’ – that’s what it’s all about after all, connecting with new people…

    I also like Stephen Fry’s references to Tweeps and Tweeple on Twitter, but I guess this doesn’t translate to other SM sites so well.

  • Reply February 26, 2010

    Geek Girl

    Agreed! My Facebook account is my personal (with a huge capital P) oasis of happiness! I get loads of friends’ requests from Social Media folks which I always turn down. Why would I want a random to see my personal pictures? What if this random is a potential employer? This could be embarassing…

    Fan pages are a way of connecting with your community but I also really like the way you’ve created a new secondary profile to promote your blog thus getting people to connect with yourself as a person, rather than a blog.

  • Reply February 26, 2010


    I like the little figure sitting on that question mark at the beginning of your post. I’ve been feeling like that guy for several months now while I struggled with this issue.

    My life has also been amazingly enriched my social media. Very truly, some of my close, personal and in real life friends currently are a direct result of social media….I met them online FIRST, then met them face to face. Some of these digital–>real life connections have been lackluster, some of developed into friendships that I am sure will last a lifetime.

    And then there is the group that I feel close to but have never met in person. Yes, I’m talking to you. And yes, I already decided not to flick the kill switch on you before you even posted this 😉

    So I’m learning as I go…as we go…through this new journey. No matter where it goes or does’t, it sure is interesting!

  • Reply February 26, 2010


    Nice post. I tend to lean toward the Fightclub reference of single serve friends. True… a good SM friend would be more than a single serving. Maybe a combo of SM… probably been done to death but SoMed doesn’t sound to bad. Hey…. where did you meet her?… oh, she is one of my new SoMeds. After all… it is not uncommon to medicate with Social Media… medicate for the lack of tradition connections that can be difficult to maintain in this hyper busy world….I am just saying…..

  • Reply February 26, 2010

    Adam Vincenzini

    Guys, thanks for taking the time to comment on this post.
    Timing is a funny think.
    I sat in a 4.5hr meeting today and the phrase ‘bleeding over’ was used more times than I could count.
    Now, we were talking about disciplines, channels and responsibilities but the same could be said for this issue – is public bleeding over to private and can we stop it?
    I agree with Matt that we’re all learning as we go and to a large extent it comes down to personality and circumstance – I don’t have kids to protect so perhaps I’m happy being a bit more open…for now. If / when that day comes it might change. As with most things in life, the good stuff tends to outweigh the bad and maybe that’s all we can ask for.

  • Reply March 1, 2010


    Good post Adam. I think your struggle with personal and private is something we all go thru, will go thru or have went thru. For me I did so over a year ago. I finally decided “ya either like me or ya’ don’t” and “I am who I am”.

    I do have kids so am just now having to start being more careful. I am just now implementing lists and special views where I didn’t use to do such so tightly.

    I also finally setup my personal fan page and felt awkward doing such. Going well so far and more engagement than the other post for just my agency. I know people buy from people so not sure why I still struggle with it.

    Anyway, I saw your photos on FB and took a peak at em’! Was nice to see you living life. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply March 1, 2010

    Adam Vincenzini

    Pam – I am with you on ‘being you’ – in fact, that’s always one of the key things I stress to clients / friends when entering Social Media: “Be real, be passionate…and be you.” (Because the rest is just background noise).
    It’s true, we buy people…or perhaps we buy ‘personalities’, ones that fit our needs / give us the feeling of confidence we require.
    Fan page, public Facebook page, private Faceook page – I don’t think there’s a single answer, everyone can (and will do) what is best for them.
    As for my photos…I hope one day we get to meet face-to-face so I can add to that lil’ collection 🙂

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