In other words, these are people I've heard of, or people who know people I know, but whom I have never met offline or worked with online or offline.
A while back, I discussed an article I'd read, which posed this question about how social networking has served to lessen (in my opinion) the meaning of the word "friend":
When I accept requests on a social networking site, often from people I don't know, they tell me,
- Congratulations. You have three new friends.
Really? Will they check on me when I'm going through challenges, celebrate my wins with me and share their deepest secrets?
Social networking "friends" cheapen the word, and suggest that all there is to friendship is to agree to be in each other's network.
I still agree with the premise of that article - social networking sites are serving to lessen the meaning of the word "friends". Even if I did join Facebook.
Maybe I'm not "with it" or I'm just being a jerk, but I don't feel like I've got to have an online club of hundreds of people I don't know and will never meet in person.
Maybe I just a bit old-fashioned and enjoy the human experience - even as anti-social and socially-clueless as I can be. For me, computers and technology should help mediate communication and facilitate human connections.
So if you're reading this and planning to send an add request, don't do it if you don't want to get to know me in real life - or at least are willing to buy me a beer the next time I'm in your neck of the woods.