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This chapter is from the book

Why Friends Are Important

Why are friends important? Well, I can’t speak to the value of friends in real life (actually, I could, but this isn’t the place for that), but I can tell you why friends are important on Facebook.

It’s simple, really, and all about access. For a person to have full access to your Facebook Profile page and status updates, they must be added to your friends list. It’s the same in reverse; you must be on that person’s friends list to view her full Profile page and status updates.

In addition, when you add someone to your friends list, all of her status updates automatically appear on the News Feed on your Facebook Home page. Likewise, when you’re added to someone else’s friends list, all your status updates appear in that person’s News Feed. It’s a great way of keeping tabs on what your friends are doing.

Fortunately, there is no practical limit to the number of friends you can have on Facebook (okay, you can have up to 5,000 friends—a number you’re never going to reach), so you don’t have to pick and choose; you can make anybody a friend if you so want. Some people have hundreds of Facebook friends, whereas others have just a few. It’s all up to you.

That said, there is no expectation that you dutifully read all the posts from all your Facebook friends. In fact, when you add a person to your Facebook friends list, that doesn’t even imply that the person is a “friend” in the traditional use of the word. You might not even know that person; Facebook friends can be total strangers in real life. On Facebook, they’re just people you follow—and who follow you.

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