Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my…Facebook Friend?

Wow.  If only Facebook Friend-ing was as sweet and nice as Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.    Can’t you hear the rest of the song…Won’t you please, Won’t you please?  Please won’t you be my…Neighbor Facebook Friend?
Hot topics never cease to amaze me and in the new world of social media…next up = Facebook “friends” – accept or ignore?  That is the question.  And some bloggers have even answered it in their own opinions like one of my favorites did here.  
I often pick topics on here that just won’t leave me alone.  If something pops up in my world over and over again, I just have to write about it to move it out of my mind.  Facebook friending is the latest.  In the past 2 weeks this has come up over and over and over and over again in completely unrelated conversations…with friends, relatives, co-workers, strangers, etc.  It was even part of a large group work discussion last week during a leadership reading series on business etiquette and then again in the break room with 3-4 co-workers and then with my dad and BFF in Florida.  I always take that as a sign to sit down and type it up.  So, yes, topics talk to me!
First let say that it took me a LONG time to even bite the bullet and get a Facebook page myself.  But once I did I truly enjoyed connecting with people – both from my past and those in my life today.  I do not feel that it has replaced any of my relationships, but in fact has enhanced most.
Then this whole concept of “friending” people got out of control for me.  I got requests from people I barely knew.  People I hadn’t talked to in years.  People I didn’t end friendships or relationships with well.  Um, if we had a falling out years ago and I decided to no longer be friends with you because you were nasty to me what makes you think I now want to “friend” you because of a generic “friend” request – at least personalize the message if you want to kiss and make up!  
I thought it was called “friend” for a reason?  But then I saw people with thousands of “friends” – really?  Having gone to college, grad school and living in different cities and working at multiple locations over the past 15 years, I’d say I have quite a lot of acquaintances (maybe more than most), but true “friends” – not so much.   That’s when I had to sit down and think this through…who did I really want to connect with?  Who did I want to have access to ME?  My posts, my pictures, my thoughts, etc.  It’s one thing to connect with someone else because of my own curiosity about them, but then I’m granting the same to him/her!
And so I made myself some guidelines once my account was set up.  Here are my personal rules:
I could care less who you connect with.  That’s your gig.  If you have 1000s of friends and that makes you happy = good for you.  I know some of you use it to connect with others around the world who (or is it whom?) fight the same daily battles (cancer, CF, adoption, etc.) and I’m glad it’s another resource for you.  I don’t judge you by your friend count; I just have my own rules.
I do connect with family.  I have such a large extended family that it’s actually helped me learn more about people I’m related to and has made family events much more interesting. 
At first, I did not connect with anyone from work.  I followed the “no-work” rule for years.  However, by the time I went on my 3rd maternity leave, I had made a handful of close work-friends.  So, I broke (revamped) my own rule during leave and connected with about 5 people I work with so I could keep up with them out of the office.  These are people I consider to be good friends and would socialize with outside of work. 
I connect with other friends and acquaintances.  I ask myself if I would pick up the phone to talk to them.  If the answer is “no”, then I do not connect with them.
It’s weird, but I like to keep my friend list near 100-125.  That’s plenty to manage for me and I review it every now and then.
I will remove someone and so I have unfriended multiple people.  Mainly it’s people whose posts I find negative and people I will most likely never see again…I find myself asking, “Why do I associate myself with so-and-so…because I knew him/her once long ago?” and DELETE and POOF and they are gone.  Only a rare few times have they tried to re-friend me, but then, IGNORE.  If they constantly empty my bucket instead of fill my bucket = GONE.
Things got tricky again when I started my blog.  I had to make another Facebook decision.  Do I get a Facebook page for the blog?  Most of my traffic comes from Facebook links.  It spikes when I post a link on my personal page or when a friend reposts a link on theirs.  People started asking me about getting a separate page so their friends could “like” it and get the updates in their feeds.  Because although they didn’t want to “friend” me, they wanted to follow the blog by updates posted on Facebook.  Seriously?  Since I’m not Twitter or RSS-friendly, I did it.  Funny enough, I think I only have a handful of “friends” on there (demand must not have been too much), but we’ll see what happens.
And you, how do you Facebook?  Any personal rules?

I currently have 117 friends and haven’t scrubbed my list in awhile…so I’m off to do that now.  If you’re a “friend”…hope you make the cut.  J/K.  Laugh people!

4 Responses to Would you be mine? Could you be mine? Won’t you be my…Facebook Friend?

  1. I have been called a FB snob, but I really don’t mind. My rules are pretty similar to yours. I deleted a few this week and need to get rid of some more.

  2. Loved reading your view on facebook “friending”. I remember when facebook first came out. I believe it was 2004, and I was at college. Facebook started out as a sort of college networking site. It was limited to college students whose email addresses ended in “.edu”. It was neat to connect with other people on your campus, or friends at other colleges.

    Since then, facebook has exploded and has opened up to anyone and everyone. My “friend” list went from just college buddies to family members, co-workers, and people I hadn’t seen or heard from in years. People I didn’t get along with in highschool were trying to “friend” me, and those people got ignored.

    As far as “facebook rules” go, I don’t really have any other than not posting things that may hurt my opportunities to obtain or maintain employment. Often these days, employers will check a person’s facebook page to see what kind of person they are. My boss joined facebook recently and “friended” me. Now I have to watch what I post, what others post on my wall, what pictures I might be tagged in, etc. There are ways to make your profile private and limit what certain people can see, post, etc, but the way I see it, if you have to go through all of that to “friend” someone, they probably don’t deserve to be “friended” in the first place.

    Great blog, Tricia. Social media is always a popular topic. Glad I could get your take on the subject!

  3. Tricia, I think the first thing a person needs to do before joining anytime of social networking group whether it’s on FB, Twitter, or the thousands of others I know nothing about is to determine “why are you joining and what do you want to get out of it.”

    Here are my personal goals for my Social Networking efforts:
    1. Connect with my children, see pictures of my -grandkids, be apart of their day-to-day lives.
    2. Reestablish relationships with distant relatives and lifelong friends.
    3. Continue relationships that were important to me but have changed because of moves, job changes, etc
    4. Reach out to people who are hurting to encourage, counsel, and befriend
    5. Use as a marketing tool for my online Bible study
    6. Be a positive voice to our negative world

    Because of my goals becoming friends with anyone who wants to even though I may not know them at all is good for me.

    I’m not into to sharing what I eat, where I am, and the daily gossip I just want to make a difference and FB is a great place to do that.

    Tricia, thanks for this post. You’re right there’s a lot of buzz about this right now. I’m glad your blog encouraged me to spend some time thinking about it.

    I hope I’m still your friend! (I’m laughing!!!!)

    Dianne Guthmuller

  4. I used to delete people I didn’t talk to regularly… I just don’t know why people I don’t communicate with need access to my vacation pictures. In fact, I think I may weed out a few today… 🙂


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