Friending and following

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Adding someone to a list of "friends" on a social networking site is known as "friending." Not necessarily associated with the idea of friendship. It is also different from the concept of a "fan," as used on the websites of corporations, musicians, and other artists and performers, since the connection is reciprocal. A "fan" can only get items. A "friend" may converse with the one who friended them. Typically, the act of "friending" someone provides that individual particular rights (on the service) in relation to oneself. On Facebook, for instance, a user's "friends" may access and publish to his or her "timeline."

Following is a similar idea on other social network platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, where a user (follower) chooses to add a person or page's material to his or her newsfeed. Following is not always reciprocal, unlike friending, and a user may unfollow or ban another user at any moment without altering that user's following status.

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