Facebook 106: Inviting Friends to Join Facebook

Facebook without friends is like… well, I’m not sure exactly what the simile would be, but it would certainly be lonely.

But you don’t need to remain friendless for long. If you’re a SMUGgle, I for one would be glad to be your friend. Just indicate your SMUGgleness when you send the friend request.

But I’m getting ahead of myself…or maybe ahead of you. What if you don’t know how to invite a friend?

That’s what this course is about. It’s easy.

Continue reading “Facebook 106: Inviting Friends to Join Facebook”

Facebook 103: Facebook Friend Etiquette

In the 1960s, when I was too young to be in on all the rebellion, the anti-war protesters had a slogan expressing wariness of all those who had begun their fourth decade: “Never trust anyone over 30.”

For those of us who are now among the thirtysomethings and above, here’s a general rule of Facebook etiquette I follow with few exceptions:

“Never friend anyone under 30.”

I still accept friend requests from youngsters, but I let them initiate the connection. Especially since I’m a grandpa I don’t want to unsettle the younger Facebook crowd. I don’t want teenagers wondering “Who’s this old guy who wants to be my friend?”

If you’re old enough to know better, I’d recommend the same rule for you.

Some other helpful hints:

  1. Do invite people in your e-mail address book to be your Facebook friends. If you use Web-based services like Gmail or Hotmail, it’s an easy process. We’ll cover how to do it in a future course. The benefit of adding people as Facebook friends is you can retain contact with them even as they change jobs (and consequently their e-mail addresses.) Their Facebook profiles will stay the same, though, and they will likely update them with their new e-mail to stay in touch.
  2. Do use Facebook Friend Lists to group your friends, as described in Facebook 210. You can assign varying levels of privacy for personal, family or professional friends. Besides the enhanced privacy settings, it also makes it easier for you to send a quick message to a group with a common interest. A person can be on more than one of your lists.
  3. Don’t just network for networking’s sake. Even worse, don’t network for marketing’s sake. If you’re just adding friends so you can later spam them with get-rich-quick schemes, you’re missing the point. Social media aren’t about aggregating eyeballs; they’re about making real connections. That’s why I have these rules for accepting Facebook friend requests.
  4. “Unfriending” is OK, but you have other options. If I accept a friend request from someone who turns out to be a spammer, I “unfriend” without a second thought. They have tons of “friends” and won’t be personally offended. In the hypothetical example of a real acquaintance or former classmate who gets uncomfortably friendly after all these years, you can start by putting him or her into a group with restricted access to your profile, including taking away the ability to see your wall or photos. Again, see Facebook 210 for instructions. If that still doesn’t create enough distance, you can unfriend and block the person. But the preliminary steps may be enough, without invoking the nuclear option.

How about you? What additional “Miss Manners” advice would you offer for people new to Facebook?

Facebook Friend Rules

I suppose I have brought this on myself (or maybe that’s just a blame-the-victim mentality), but some recent developments have led me to establish some new rules for accepting Facebook friend requests.

I have previously encouraged any SMUG students or even casual readers to add me as a Facebook friend. I still hope you will. The fact that you’re here suggests that Google thought you might find this content interesting and relevant, and that you took Google’s recommendation. We should be friends, even if we haven’t yet met.

But in the last month or two I’ve had an alarming increase in friend requests from people who seem to think Facebook is the next Amway, and who want to use it mainly as a tool for multi-level marketing.

Getting away from spam (the electronic kind, not the trademarked kind that is made in my home town, and which saved Western civilization during World War II) is a major part of Facebook’s appeal. I don’t want to be bombarded with get-rich-quick schemes.

Lately, I’ve had too many scenarios like this, which started last night:

11:09 p.m. on 6/14/08 – I accept a friend request from Jan Cheung

Within a few hours I had received this (click to enlarge):

And very shortly after that I received these two group invitations:

Jan’s not the only one who’s done this, but this was the proverbial straw.

So he’s not my friend any more. Not in Facebook, and after this post, likely not elsewhere either.

And I’ve developed some new rules for Facebook friend requests. I’ve had other people whom I have accepted as friends send friend requests to my kids, who thought they should add people because I did.

So here are my new rules, which are less strict than Facebook would suggest, but yet leave room open for connecting with people who have a common interest in learning about social media, not just using people as leverage points.

  1. Send me a message with your friend request. Give me some sense that you’ve read one or more of my blog posts, and that you added me in Facebook from here instead of from someone else’s list of friends. If you say something about SMUG, I’ll know you weren’t just cruising people’s friend lists and adding people in alphabetical order.
  2. Don’t spam me. If you send me a message inviting me to join a group within 24 hours of becoming my friend, or make me one of 8-10 recipients of one of your messages, I will “unfriend” and block (and perhaps report) you.

If you’re reading this post, you’re exactly the kind of person with whom I want to be friends. But for those who add me because I’m first in alphabetical order in all my friends’ lists as you cruise Facebook, they’ll be ignored.

Are you having a problem with friend spam, or is this just among the cons (there are many pros) of having a surname like Aase?