In a previous issue in the Ming Pao column co-authored by me and Dr Benjamin Au Yeung, we talked about new words created by Facebook and Facebook users. I noted that while we could say ‘to unfriend someone’ on Facebook, we only had ‘to add someone as a friend’, not ‘to friend someone’. Indeed, ‘to add someone as a friend’ is still the official expression used by Facebook.
On the other hand, ‘facebook’ as a verb, as in ‘Facebook me’, and ‘She facebooked all her friends from high school’ has been around for some time. But ‘to facebook somebody’ is not the same as ‘to add someone as a friend’. It means more like connecting with someone on Facebook.
Today, I ran into ‘to friend someone’ for the first time. On p. 163 of his book Free: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing, Chris Anderson writes: “… which is what ‘friending’ someone creates”. He was talking about people adding each other as friends on Facebook. Admittedly, Anderson still had to put ‘friending’ in quotation marks. But now that ‘friend’ as a verb has formally appeared in a book (from Random House!), the usage may pick up. I’m now looking forward to being able to say to people soon: ‘Hey, friend me!’
(Postscript: I looked up ‘to friend someone’ on Urban Dictionary, and it was there. But there was only one submitted example under the heading, and it was posted in Feb, 2008.)