Friending and following

Friending is the act of adding someone to a list of "friends" on a social networking service.[1][2] The notion does not necessarily involve the concept of friendship.[footnotes 1] It is also distinct from the idea of a "fan" — as employed on the WWW sites of businesses, bands, artists, and others — since it is more than a one-way relationship. A "fan" only receives things. A "friend" can communicate back to the person friending.[2] The act of "friending" someone usually grants that person special privileges (on the service) with respect to oneself.[4] On Facebook, for example, one's "friends" have the privilege of viewing and posting to one's "timeline".[2]

Following is a similar concept on other social network services, such as Twitter and Instagram, where a person (follower) chooses to add content from a person or page to his or her newsfeed. Unlike friending, following is not necessarily mutual, and a person can unfollow (stop following) another user at any time without affecting that user's following status. [5] [6]

The first scholarly definition and examination of friending and defriending (the act of removing someone from one's friend list, also called unfriending) was David Fono and Kate Raynes-Goldie's "Hyperfriendship and beyond: Friends and Social Norms on LiveJournal" from 2005,[7] which identified the use of the term as both a noun and a verb by users of early social network site and blogging platform LiveJournal, which was originally launched in 1999.


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