On Difference between Fans and Friends

On Difference between Fans and Friends

Friends are good, friends are great. All we hear about friendship is mostly positive (leaving aside cases when friendship is betrayed – but that is worth a whole good blues song). Yet social networking has considerably changed the notion. We have friends here and there, good deal of “friends”, but are they really that “friendly”? I would not rush to claim that yes, they all are that close to you. Some – yes, definitely. Others – you have once met them at a party and hardly remember their full names. A public person may count “friends” not even by hundreds but by thousands. And no one would talk here about true friendship – rather about eager followers and fans. 

So to avoid misunderstanding our beloved Facebook has a special option – to join a favorite page, which is to become an eternally loyal fan. While following all important (and not so important) events on the page of a celebrity or a favorite IT or cosmetics company, we do not feel a bit silly (well, it is ridiculous to befriend a company) or do not feel cheated (I am a “friend” to David Beckham and he does not care). We have permanent access to photos, news updates, videos or hot comments on some current or upcoming events and we are pretty consented. So Facebook gets it right. Being a fan means necessary distance but at the same enough links to have the feeling of staying in touch. All this psychological stuff is good for developers who try to predict users’ reaction and tell them what they want or need before they understand it themselves.

But the rule of fans also works in the opposite direction (I wonder if developers have also foreseen it?) – Pages with hundreds and thousands of fans are regarded as more reliable and trustworthy than those with few friends and no fans at all.  So the important way to promote your account on Facebook no matter what it is about – business, leisure, charitable society or Doughnut Lovers Club – is to get lots of fans (just as it works in life). How to get them – depends on you. You may spam people you hardly know asking them to join your page. You may buy Facebook fans – it will be fast and easy. Get a solid ground for a start and people will begin joining your page.

Or you may keep going on your own and hope that perseverance and optimism will finally lead you to success. No one argues that it is possible, but it will take much longer way to get to the top. So take a free advice and get some outer help – it costs a little but pays back over and over again.

2 March 2013