Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Facebook Friend Requests - What to do when you don't know the Who, and get no Info to Say Nuffin to You
Personally, i'm still trying to figure out the role of facebook in my life - and what the quality "friend" means. It seems more to be acquaintances than friends, per se. But that aside, i find myself surprised to get a number of these "friend" requests from people i've never met, don't know, and who provide no context - no little message to say "Hi, you don't know me, but the reason i'd like to be friends with you is BLAH" We may have some other "friends" in common, but forgive me, so what?
And so this is my conundrum. Perhaps i'm misunderstanding facebook entirely, and one shouldn't care who asks to be one's friends; just hit accept. After all, these connections aren't really about friends; they're just something - oh, i don't know what.
It seems i'm not entirely alone. In a post called Both Sides of the Table by Mark Suster (whom it seems gets a ton of facebook requests. He writes:
Facebook. I know some people link to anybody and everybody on Facebook – I do not. Facebook is a reciprocal (or symmetrical) network and therefore if you want to follow me by default I follow you back. The problem I have with this is two-fold. First, I send lots of private stuff on Facebook because that’s where I connect to my parents, my siblings, my classmates and my wife. Second, I don’t want to clutter up the stream of information that I have in my Facebook newsfeed with information on people with whom I don’t have a relationship.At least Mark has figured out a particular use for Facebook, and so has clear guidance on how he accepts friends. This groundwork is by way of background to the cool basics of exchange Suster suggests:
The more Personal. I like this; it's simple. Send a note with your request. I think beyond being informative it's just nice, isn't it? Polite? I like the comparison to sending a CV to a company without a cover letter. But even more casually, how often to complete strangers just step up to you in the middle of a conversation and start talking - with no introduction?
If you’re asking to “connect” with people you don’t know (or don’t know well), how should you go about it? Send people a personalized comment on the intro saying who you are and why you’d like to connect. I do this even for people who I know very well. Put in any info about people we know in common, places we may have met or some other relevant fact. Even if we don’t know each other – finding a common bridge increases your probability of getting accepted.
If you connect to me on Facebook and simply have an invite with no explanation and if I can’t figure out how I know you I’ll just hit ignore. On Facebook there isn’t even a standard “join my network” introduction. Sending a blank invite is the equivalent of sending your resume to a company with no cover letter. People do it, but it’s not professional.
I'd add to the above that some folks may seem to think that if i see whom we may have as friends in common, then no further data is required - or maybe they don't - i'm guessing, cuz i don't know. They don't say. But for me, that friends in common thing offers nothing useful. Many people ride motorcycles, for instance, is that single data point sufficient to want to expose one's communication to others, or invite others to comment on any topic you initiate?
Again, perhaps i'm just missing something obvious about Facebook.
S.O.S. SO i reach out to b2d readers. What do you do when you get a request from someone whom you do not know, and have no note about the request?
With many thanks,
mc Tweet Follow @begin2dig