I've been on Facebook for several months now. Mostly, I use it to help keep in touch with my relatives. I have a big family in another part of the country, and it's fun to hear a bit what they're doing.
I recently friended one of the younger members of the family who just graduated from high school; since I've been away so very long, I don't know Joe very well. We've seen each other perhaps five times, total, none for long casual visits. I have to say, it's fascinating to see how much he posts to facebook compared to the older members of the family.
It's also fun to see him make comments that from his perspective are wildly radical, and from my cynical perspective aren't. (Not that I'd say that to him; we have to go through stuff, and I hope he's also patient with my bird and flower pictures.)
I need a filter for the "this is something B would care about" vs "this is just Joe rambling."
I think the couple of students who've friended me probably have me on a limited viewing thing, or maybe they just don't post that much, because in comparison, Joe posts tons.
Friending students: A couple of my upper level students sent me friend requests this spring, and I've accepted, and it's fine. But if you remember this post? I explained to the student that I was uncomfortable and didn't think it was appropriate for to comment on someone's looks if you're primarily in a professional relationship. (Student/teacher, teacher/student, etc. I suppose it's different if you're doing makeup on an actress, but that's not it here.)
The student got upset and unfriended me; I was neutral about that. I wouldn't have unfriended the student, but it was okay that s/he did.
And then I noticed that I wasn't seeing the student's frequent comments on a mutual "friend's" page.
About the same time, a friend of mine (different) was getting comments from person X (unrelated to anything else in this long tale) on his/her page, and asked me what I thought of them. But I wasn't seeing them, so we figured out that X had made it so I couldn't see his/her comments or search or whatever.
So in my curiousity about how facebook works, I looked and saw that I couldn't search for the student, either, so I figured out that s/he probably set privacy that way. I felt a little less neutral, but okay.
Time passed. (Are you even still reading?)
Then I was seeing this student's responses to the mutual friend again, and then not to long later, I got a friend request from the student.
The thing is, while I wouldn't have unfriended this student, I don't miss his/her frequent gushy comments at all, and I have no urge to friend him/her again. I don't worry now that one of my colleagues or family members will misinterpret the gushiness, for example. And the friend request came with a gushy message about how once someone's had a class with me, they wouldn't want to be without.
The friend request made me realize that I didn't put any more pictures up from my Peace Corps days and seem to post less personally than I did. It wasn't concious on my part, but I guess my discomfort played out that way. I'm maybe a bit more self-protective (though it's not like I was putting up wild partying pictures anyway).
So I don't know. I feel sort of rude not answering at all, but I haven't answered or anything.
A side note: a while back, I played a lot of Everquest and was in a guild (a voluntary association of people who have access to ways to work together in the game and share a common identifying tag in game). It was mostly a good guild, but there was one member who would get upset about something and click whatever you clicked to leave the guild and post something on the guild boards about how unhappy he was with everything and he was leaving. And then a while later, he'd post a request to rejoin the guild.
After he did this a couple times, there was some doubt among some members about having him rejoin. Yes, he was good friends with some members, but no one needed the drama.
And so I asked him (on his board request for rejoining), "What's changed? What makes you think you'll be happy with the guild this time?"
I think that was helpful because the guild hadn't changed; we weren't going to do things the way he wanted. And he really hadn't changed. He still wanted to do things his way. And we were all tired of the drama.
So, he responded that he was withdrawing his request because, indeed, nothing really had changed, and he probably needed to think about that before rejoining or joining a different guild.
My point is (you're glad there is a point, right?) that I don't know what has changed for this student enough to go from unfriending me and putting privacy stuff in place, to removing the privacy stuff and now doing a friend request. But if nothing's changed, I have no interest in a similar drama.
Somewhere, I read that madness is doing the same thing again and again and expecting different results. I don't need madness (because weeding my garden is pretty much all that I can handle).