Discussion about friending people on Facebook has been going on for years: who do you friend and why? Do you accept all friend requests, or are you ruthlessly selective? Do you use it for business or just for close friends and family?
There are no right or wrong answers, but because people use it in different ways there will be misunderstandings at times. What if you’ve included your business network on Twitter and a relative posts something on your wall that’s a little too personal for your clients to know? How will deleting the comment, or un-tagging a photo affect your real-world relationship? There is great potential for drama and misunderstandings that may end in the ultimate action: unfriending.
Comedy troupe Idiots of Ants did a great skit about Facebook in Real Life, that hit the nail on the head about old school mates, and others, friending you and portraying the least desirable evidence of your past to the rest of your network.
Today on Twitter, I came across another entertaining example of how who you friend on Facebook and the 25 Things meme may cause you to scratch your head and wonder, “wtf?”
(Hat tip @JoeCascio @rhappe. Warning: strong language.)
With Facebook claiming the number one rank in social networks, you may have found that you are getting friend requests from people who clearly lie outside of your initial plan of who you would connect with. Now what?
I find I’m struggling with this question. I originally started on Facebook with the sole idea of connecting with my widespread family, particularly my Gen Y nephews and nieces. It was an interesting experiment to invite all 13 of them to see who refused to friend their aunt (*ahem* even though I’m the cool aunt). This spread to good friends, then slowly started to expand outwards.
When I began adding more and more of my known business and Twitter network, I started removing the really personal parts of my profile and paying much closer attention to the information I was putting out there for all to see.
Complete strangers started to send me friend invitations and, after looking at their limited profiles, it was clear that we had some social media contacts in common, but without a personal message, I really didn’t know who they were. Ignore. Ignore. Ignore.
Then, I started having second thoughts. What if I was missing opportunities, business or otherwise, by restricting my friends to people I know personally or though direct contact on Twitter? Should I build my Facebook network and have strangers possibly become friends?
I actually went as far as contacting Facebook to find out if there was a way of retrieving all of the people whose invitations I ignored, just in case I decided to open it up. (Nope. Once they’re ignored, you can’t get them back.) Right now, my Facebook request area is like Limbo while I decide how wide I want those doors to be.
So, what do you think? Do I go mass market (not quite à la Scoble)? Or, do I keep things small and reasonably closed to people I’ve met in person, those I know well enough online and those who’ve bothered to write me a note about how they know me?
What’s your personal Facebook friend policy?
Related articles by Zemanta
- Why Facebook’s new profile changes matter (news.cnet.com)
- You Can’t Advise Clients on Social Media if You’re Not on Facebook and Twitter (chrisabraham.com)
- Why It Is a Bad Idea to Add Strangers as Friends on Facebook (profy.com)
- The Facebook Facts (askbecca.com)
- Career Survival Week 2/5: Using Social Media To Keep Your Job (rohitbhargava.typepad.com)