I noticed today, when switching from “home” to “profile” on my Facebook page, that I had precisely 666 friends.


It’s not that I’m superstitious, or that the Apocalypse of John’s reference to 666 has anything to do with Facebook (though some folks who have seen The Social Network think founder Mark Zuckerberg comes off little better than the antiChrist), it’s just … a little weird.

Not being a big fan of weirdness, I’d just as soon the number be either larger or smaller. The truth is, we all know that I don’t really have 666 personal friends, though I have been “friended” by that many others who have Facebook accounts. Different users take different approaches to “friending” — some people I know will accept friend invitations only from people they know well and really want to be in touch with. Others confirm anyone who asks, and actively seek to “friend” more and more people.

Since I didn’t really set out to use Facebook primarily as a way to communicate with friends (I prefer email or phone calls), my philosophy has been that I would agree to “friend” requests, even if I didn’t know the sender from Adam’s housecat, if I could see that we had mutual friends. The result is that my “news feed” contains posts from a lot of people I don’t actually know, so it takes a while to scan through and see what the people I do like to hear from are up to.

That would be easier if chose the option of “unfriending” a whole bunch of people, but that — aside from the horrid but near-unavoidable use of “friend” as a verb — just seems distasteful. I don’t want to appear unkind, or unappreciative of other’s interest in following my posts. So, I haven’t gone in that direction.

Still, I figure most people don’t really care what I had for breakfast or where I’m spending the day, so I rarely post anything other than links to my blog (though when I’m in another country, the blog may well concern what interesting things I had to eat). I wouldn’t write the blog if I didn’t want people to read it, so I suppose having more Facebook friends is a plus, figuring at least a few folks might be intrigued enough (or bored enough) to click the link.

I’d rather have more friends than less, but either way, I’m looking for a different total. So, unless your name is Nero, Vespasian, Domitian, or one of the other Roman emporers speculated as John’s intended antiChrist, feel free to friend me, or unfriend me — just get me off the triple six, please.

Somehow, it’s just not a comfortable seat.

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