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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who to Friend on Facebook

"Find people you know on Facebook
Your friends on Facebook are the same friends, acquaintances and family members that you communicate with in the real world. You can use any of the tools on this page to find more friends."

That's what the top of the "Find Friends" page says on Facebook.com. So if that's the premise as described by the site itself why are you getting so many friend requests from people you don't know at all? Like never knew them in High School or College, are not friends with them now at work, or it's literally someone on the other side of the planet you may never meet in real life...

To accept, ignore, reject or wait is subjective. Some people try to friend as many people as they can, others only the people they really know in real life. I'm not saying either way is right or wrong but rather that different people approach their "Friend List" with different criteria.

And just so you know... I don't always immediately respond to all of the Facebook friend requests I receive.

Why would I wait to accept a friend request?

Well there's a few reasons. My most basic criteria for accepting friend requests are based on the following:

1. Are we really friends in real life?

2. Are we colleagues that share more then the occasional "Nice to see you" at an industry event? Have we got together to chat outside of an industry event? Have we ever worked on a project together?

3. How well do I know your work? To me, accepting a friend request is in itself an endorsement of both the quality of work and the way in which a company conducts their business. So if I don't know anything about who you are, what you do, or your company in general, chances are I'll want to wait until I do.

4. If we aren't work colleagues how well do we know each other? Whether you're a local friend or an internet friend the same "I have to know you and already be friends with you" standard applies.

So what to do to avoid the somewhat awkward situation of not accepting friend requests? You can always reserve your personal profile for family only (or no one at all) and start a Business Facebook Profile for your company that is open to the world to join.

If you're a colleague and I haven't accepted your request because I don't know you at all, and you see me at an industry event? Please come by and say hello. Let me get to know you. I'd appreciate it. Really I would.

(Just for the record: There have been a few time I accidently accepted the requests of people I don't know when my computer accepted not only the request I meant to but also the one directly after it. So a few people I don't know well are on my friend list. Rather then defriend them? I'm getting to know them better :)

Some great articles about friending on Facebook:

Is it rude to not accept a friend request? Frequent users of social forums like Facebook will most likely say no. But to someone new to the scene it might feel rude. The thing to keep in mind is that some people are all about quantity. Your declining to accept won't devastate them. You're just a unit to bring them closer to a "target" number of friends. Or they might have accidentally hit the "send a friend request to everyone in my email address book" while setting up their account. So if you get a request from someone and wonder why they sent it? Maybe they didn't mean to in the first place: When you don't want to be Facebook friends

Another awkward situation created when you join a site like Facebook is defriending a friend:
Meaning removing them from your friend list. If you join a site like Facebook it'll most likely happen to you at some point. It's nothing to get worked up over. Well at least not for me it wasn't. This is real life, you'll have ups and downs and may take breaks or just stop being friends with someone for good. Either way here's an article about how to deal with this issue on Facebook: Friends, Until I Delete You

You may find this surprising but most of my friends with kids, are friends with them on Facebook. I'm even friends with some of their kids. I'd recommend parents with teenagers on Facebook get online themselves. Even if your kid won't friend you as a parent I think it's good for everyone to understand how the site works so they have a better understanding of how especially really young kid(s) are potentially using the site when they're online: When Mom or Dad Asks To Be a Facebook 'Friend'


  1. What a great post Stacie. Until now I never really gave it much thought who I accepted as a friend on Facebook.

  2. Great info on facebook! I included you on my first Wedding Wednesdays blog tonight! Hope I did the links right. Let me know if I didn't...I'm so new to all this. Spent some time reading some of your cute ideas this afternoon. Got me inspired with more ideas for the kids. Thanks!
    (Lulu's Momma!)

  3. Great post Stacie! I too, am more selective on Facebook (FB). Just this week I've been sent some friend requests by complete strangers. One guy is friends with a mutual friend but the other is just out of the blue so yes, I am sitting on those for now deciding what to do.

    I am also friends with my son on social networking sites, as are a couple of my friends so we can keep an eye on what he's doing. I am also friends with my nephews. All are in the 19-22 age range.

  4. Hi Stacie. After reading your post, I deleted 15 of my friends on Facebook. Lol. Hopefully they won't notice for a long time! I knew who those people were but we never officially met so I decided to wait and get to know them before I add them as friends. It makes sense. Thanks for the helpful and very timely post. Enjoy the sunshine...what a beautiful day!


  5. Thanks for the comments everyone! Wow. Glad you all found the post interesting.

    To be honest James I didn't either when I first joined a couple of years ago. Then a friend got on me because everyone I friend could potentially see her photos if I left a comment on them and any comments she left on my wall so she wanted to make sure that I really knew the people I was friending.

    Thanks Patti, going to check it out right now! Love that you call yourself Lulu's mom. So cute :o)

    Photogirl that's so great you're online with your son and nephews. If parents don't understand how the site works they can't understand the pros and cons of letting their kids participate on it.

    And thanks Rich it was a gorgeous day! So nice to see the blue sky again :D Glad I took the day off.

  6. you need to incorporate stuff from this article. it's too funny (and relevant) to ignore:



  7. I saw that this morning Andrew. It is funny but I hope new comers to social networking don't take it too seriously.

    But like I said people definitely have different criteria for who they friend and even why they're on Facebook at all. For some, like Raina it can be a fun place to hang out and be competitive and nosy. For others it's a seriously cool way to network with industry colleagues :o)

  8. Hi Stacie,

    Thanks for your thoughtful post, and here are some other sides to the story. Preparing for a significant reunion, I recently began corresponding with people I knew in high school, and in several cases we're talking more now (and becoming better friends, I guess) than we ever used to do. It was a small school and most of us would hang out with just a small group of friends. Maybe by now we're all losing the memories of being barely acquainted, but I think FB is a forum that ENCOURAGES people to form new friendships, and not just strengthen existing ones. Just my opinion, but I think this is great news for everyone, and not just for the shy ones among us.

    I agree it's prudent to be selective, and to develop a rationale for choosing who to friend (This is the first time I ever used that word as a verb). But on the other hand, some enchanted evening I may see a stranger across a crowded room, and I may decide "Let's keep it that way." For any of a dozen intuitive reasons. Am I crazy?

    One last thought: Why would a person post something on FB that they wouldn't want a friend of a friend to see? And what might that information be -- who your friends are? And doesn't FB offer some ways for a person to restrict access to some items on his/her FB information? Finally, surely there are more secure places where a person should post really sensitive information.


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