I spent some time this morning thinking about online friends, or rather the misconception regarding online friends. We use the term “friend” often, but the truth is, many of the people we talk online aren’t really friends in the traditional sense of the word.
Many online connections turn into lifelong friendships, others turn into clients, people who we’re friendly with and even some folks who will only stay friends online. There are also plenty of people who say they’re friends but aren’t or who are only friends when they need something.
I thought it would be fun to explore the types of friends we make online and how lasting some of these friendships are.
1. The Frenemy
We all have frenemys. They’re nice to our face but talk smack about us on the back channels. They say they’ll do anything for us, but silently pray for our demise. No good comes from having a frenemy, however there’s a reason they’re a “frenemy” and not an “enemy.” It might be worth it to explore turning the relationship into one that’s more positive and productive instead of resorting to negativity.
2. The Follower
Followers are people who friend you on the social networks but the relationship doesn’t move beyond that. You see each other on Twitter, perhaps @reply now and again, but it doesn’t go anywhere. However, you’re following each other for a reason, there must be some sort of appeal. Go beyond the @ and have a real conversation and see where it takes you. The follower may turn into a friend, collaborator or client.
3. The Friend of a Friend
The friend of a friend is someone you met via someone else and doesn’t travel in your immediate circles. However, you expand your respective groups to include each other from time to time. You generally like each other and have a good time chatting, you just need to take it to the next level.
4. The Friend in Need
As its name indicates, the friend in need only calls when she requires a favor. She might want a link or other type of share, help promoting her latest affiliate program, or she may want some sort of “in” with someone you know. She doesn’t call or Skype to say hello, and when she does appear , you know after the small talk, some sort of favor is going to be requested. You thought about taking this friendship to the next level but would rather not be used in that manner.
5. The Friend Indeed
The friend indeed is your friend regardless. he’s a positive influence, and is there whether you need him or not. He has your ear and your back and you have the same. He calls you just because and never needs a reason.
6. The Name Dropping Friend
Name droppers talk to influential or well known people once for five minutes and makes sure everyone knows they’re friends. He can’t have a conversation without working names to impress, though if you ask said influencer, he’s not sure who you’re talking about at all. The name dropper doesn’t necessarily need the friend, he’d rather have the trophy.
7. The Friend Collector
Unlike the name dropping friend, the friend collector is going for quantity over quality. For him it’s all about numbers. He doesn’t make friends, he collects them in order to raise his follower count.
8. The See & Be Seen Friend
For certain friends, it’s all about being photographed with the right people. The see and be seen friend doesn’t hang around with mere peasants. Her Facebook is filled with photographs of conferences and parties, surrounded by the movers and shakers in her field. She doesn’t actually have a conversation with these people. She’s only there for the picture.
What are some of the online friends in your circle?