A blogger friend was ruminating on the meaning of Facebook in a recent post. She focused mainly on issues of etiquette in Facebooking and how that very term is a “new word”.

I really hadn’t give much thought to netiquette when it came to Facebook because, for the most part, my friends are people I have known IRL (in real life). In other words, they met me under the terms of current, face-to-face, behavioral norms, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that we will continue to communicate clearly once things move online.

I have long been interested in online society and intentional communities and how cyber relationships will impact on our friendships in the future. Hey Evelyn, remember usenet! From my perspective, Facebook is a tool to maintain more, but perhaps less intense, friendships with people whom we may only rarely update directly.

For me, Facebook has helped me maintain relationships with people whom I may not have time to communicate with directly via long emails and personalized contact via phone, or (gasp!), face-to-face meet-ups. Instead, I can maintain friendships with only a minimal amount of effort – such as updating my status and occasionally posting photos. I enjoy reading how they are doing, and am usually interested in my friends’ status updates (except maybe the sports updates-no offense my sports fan friends).