When a random person friends you—say, they think you’re kind of cute or, more likely, want to raise their social capital by boasting a four-digit number of associates—accepting them into your pantheon of friends is a gesture of kindness. However, facebook.com’s upcoming “feature” that allows you to affix “degrees of friendship” will rub into random persons’ proverbial faces that, in fact, they might not know you at all—ouch. That this new feature will serve to “out” those fraudulent friending-maniacs is unnecessarily harsh to that unsuspecting student you sat next to freshman year. There are less-cruel features already in place to indicate to curious classmates just who your true “friends” really are.
Logging onto that revered facebook account, we all know that there is a measure of excitement to see which six smiling faces—chosen, remember, at random—pop up in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen under “Friends at Harvard.” The last thing you want is to click on that person’s face, and see that they have ranked you as “stalkerish.” What of those poor souls who actually think that you’re good friends, only to find out you labeled them merely “an acquaintance”—or, more painfully, “ ” ?
There are other, more subtle, ways to point out who your best friends are, like creating an uber-exclusive facebook group entitled “The Rat: Harvard’s Most Exclusive Final Club.” Alternatively, you can use the newest facebook feature by “tagging” so many pictures of someone that it’s clear that they are more than just the “friend of a friend’s friend’s girlfriend’s one-time UA.” (Jerk.) Alternatively, you can post inside jokes on each other’s walls, letting those who pound refresh on your facebook profile know just how close the two of you are without making your other friends feel like afterthoughts.
Finally, we, the authors, do not wish to spend the time to rank all our friends. That would take far too long.
Morgan R. Grice ’06, a Crimson editorial chair, is a government concentrator in Winthrop House. Adam M. Guren ’08, a Crimson editorial editor, is an economics concentrator in Eliot House.