Reciprocity: You are my friend, right?

In the book “Hanging Out, Messing Around, and Geeking Out” Dana Boyd writes about reciprocity. The way she explains it, even just from a few years ago, is already out of date. She explains this idea of reciprocity through the lens of Myspace. And we all know Myspace is, like, so five years ago. She explains the concept of reciprocity as the feeling that if someone “Friends” you or in terms of Myspace “Top-Friends” you then you are obligated to do the same for them. It’s this idea that we can’t upset someone who thinks highly of us. We need to reciprocate their feelings. This works also with comments. If someone starts commenting on something you said or a picture you took it has come to a point that people feel the need to go and write a comment for that person. I’d like to say that this is just the way things are. That this is now just proper social netiquette but, I cannot. A large amount of these social networking sites are built around us. Me, me, me. It is all we care about. We think “look how many friends I have” or “look how many comments I got.” People will go as far as deleting posts that do not get any comments. Why? They want it to look like people care about what they have to say. This whole idea that you need to reciprocate comments and feelings towards someone just because they did it first isn’t so much that you want them to feel good it is to encourage them to keep doing it. It is saying “Hey, that’s cool. You can keep talking to me and stalking my pictures because I like what you have to say about me.” I’d really love to say that I don’t do this. I think everyone would like to say that. I do know that I don’t do this as much as some people. Some people do it less for me. In the end it us undeniable. The whole point of social networking is to get as many people as possible to know and more importantly to like you.

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One thought on “Reciprocity: You are my friend, right?

  1. David Chiles says:

    Reciprocity is an interesting concept in social media. It is good netiquette to a certain degree. Leaving a nice comment on someone’s wall after they leave one for you is good netiquette. However, giving someone a “Like” when you don’t really like it is bad.

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