You and Your Online Friends

If you think about your friends — not the Facebook ones but the real offline friends who you talk to and see on a regular basis — they’re all the same. They mirror you socially, geographically, demographically, vocationally, politically, and intellectually. And the best of them are your clones.

If you think about former classmates, ex-coworkers, old flames, people living on your street, and other people you’ve met but never moved beyond acquaintances, when was the last time you asked them for advice or shared something new about your life? Because these weak and absent ties don’t mirror you and your strong ties aka besties, wouldn’t you welcome their insights?

The ties that bind us.


I recently wrote about weak ties and the importance of connecting with people who either you don’t know well or don’t know at all. This applies to traditional networking and social media. It’s more important online, though.

The fallacy is of the three big networking sites, Facebook and LinkedIn frown on connecting with weak ties; whereas Twitter is OK with it.

  • Facebook says …you should only send friend requests to people you have a real-life connection to, like your friends, family, coworkers or classmates.
  • LinkedIn says …the basic type of connection is a contact you know personally and who you trust on a professional level.
  • Twitter says …”people you may know” are based on an algorithm that makes personalized suggestions for you.

If you adhere to Twitter’s philosophy then you should befriend people on Facebook and connect to people on LinkedIn regardless how well you know them. This is important because if you limit your online relations to strong ties, you’re saying fuck you to everyone else. Don’t be that person.

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By Ari Herzog

Ari Herzog is a teacher and tutor with 20+ years of experience in education, government, and communications. He is blogging during the coronavirus pandemic to make the world a better place.

3 replies on “You and Your Online Friends”

Posts like this one are popular because we all think there’s some magic formula that’s the right way to make friends.

There isn’t. So this debate will always be there.

You are my best friend out of the 12 people I have engaged with this morning. The day is young. I’ll talk to people I know better and people I want to know better and some annoying people who I will seek to understand better

So it goes.

I don’t like predictions but if I had to, I’d say here’s a good chance you’ll be a closer friend in a year. In the mean time, I’m glad we had this time today. My life is better for having this conversation.

Thanks Warren. The neat aspect of relationships is everyone has different baggage. From my perspective, you are a weak tie because your name is familiar to me from the days when I began the digital life and when you were making a name for yourself in the podcasting world. But I don’t know much more about you… yet.

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