Home > Facebook, Social Media > Unfriend is Word of the Year…

Unfriend is Word of the Year…


Every year the Oxford American Dictionary picks a word of the year.  It’s typically something that has created such a presence in American culture that it commands inclusion.

With technology creating culture, this year’s finalists were predominantly tech oriented.  Words like “netbook”, “hashtag” and “sexting” were on the final list, but “unfriend” is the word of the year.

I prefer the word “defriend” if it has to come to that, but really the way Facebook is evolving (if I have anything to say about it) is towards conversion.  People’s feelings get hurt if you “defriend” them, but if you offer to get to know them to begin with through a “fan” page you don’t have to hurt anyone.

If you’re trying to be friends with someone you’ve never met in real life and don’t get “accepted” up front, that’s pretty easy to deal with.  On the other hand, a rejection after an acceptance can be a blow to the self-esteem.

Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Coroon accepted my friend request.  I suspect he accepts everyones.  Even though I’ve met him in real life, I doubt he remembers me and that’s OK.  I don’t expect him to.  He’s now converting his personal profile to a fan profile and I think this will be a growing trend on Facebook over the next two years.  This is especially true for people who have combined business and personal or those with so many “friends” meaningful interaction isn’t possible.

Marketers and business people want to come into contact with as many people as they can, but they want to control that interaction.  A Facebook personal profile offers too much transparency for an individual to give it to strangers.  A fan or business page allows users to control what they share just a little bit more.

Unfriend is a poor choice for a dictionary word.  First of all “defriend” is the better term.  Secondly, social media strategy is adapting so quickly, by next year we won’t be friending people on Facebook we don’t know.  Either we’ll be filtering better or converting them to our fan or business pages where we can get to know them better and even in real life.

Isn’t that what social media is all about?

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  1. Hanna Wilbur
    January 7, 2011 at 8:15 am

    Still, defriend sounds cruel. You defriend an ill-friend (what?). The internet is changing so fast that I’m kind of lost in space. Anyway, I think unfriend sounds more friendly :P.
    Thanks for this thought of yours…

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