Facebook: To Friend or Not To Friend?

Tuesday, 16 March 2010 at 5:00 am Pacific USA Time.

I need some advice about Facebook. First, the back story.

I have twitter accounts for business, and one for personal stuff. I use LinkedIn for biz and expanding my network. I'm picky about who I add there since not everybody I know should be exposed to my network. I use Facebook for personal stuff, and I have a Facebook "fan page" for business.

Once upon a time, I added anybody who offered to friend me on Facebook. The thinking was very 2008… that you just want as many people in your "social network" as possible. When I decided to separate the biz and the personal, and use Facebook for my personal stuff, I created a Facebook friend group. I put into it the people I don't really know, and wouldn't want to see lots of personal pictures and posts/updates. Again, I use Facebook for personal stuff and connecting with friends, so I am posting things of a personal nature there.

I put over 200 people into this restricted friend group, and invited them to my As Was fan page. With an online stalker and some bad ex-boyfriends, anything that's personal for me needs to stay in my control as much as possible. And since I don't know those 200+ people, I've "hidden" many of them in the Facebook news feed. I'm more interested in the updates from the people I know. That's logical. :)

Nobody Cares!

So when people I don't know friend me, I send them a message saying Facebook is just for friends, and if they are interested in what I have to say about eBay and online selling, please join my biz fan page. Many are writing back "never mind"… they were only adding me because we have friends in common, and Facebook suggested adding me.

So you weren't interested in what I have to say??! You're just adding me because Facebook suggested it? That just doesn't make sense to me. I remember when Facebook was about only connecting with friends and people you KNEW.

I understand that this is not very Facebook-y of me… to friend people and then hide them and hide my stuff from them. And that's why I decided to just msg people who friend me (who I don't know), and suggest that they follow my fan page. But it's also not very Facebook-y for people to add people they don't know and don't care about. That doesn't make a lot of sense!

Some social media guru is going to say that's wrong. It's wrong because it's about connecting with people, and someone being a fan of my page is one-way. They are reading what I'm writing, and I may not be reading what they write.

OK, but I've decided that Facebook is personal for me. I'm unlikely to get business from Facebook. I live alone, and have friends all over the world. Facebook has become a good tool to keep in touch with those friends. This is my personal zone. I will not be applying the recommendations of social media gurus because I don't care how many friends I have. I'd rather have 100 people I trust than 500 people I don't know.

So what's your advice? Do I add every friend just to rack up friends? Do I do what I'm doing now, where I don't add strangers and direct them to my biz fan page? What do you suggest for someone trying to make Facebook a personal social world?

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Categories: Just An Observation

Comments Closed

4 Responses to “Facebook: To Friend or Not To Friend?”

  1. Eddie says:

    It’s your profile, handle it as you want. I don’t add people I don’t know in real life or have nothing in common with. In other words I deny most click-by friend requests.
    Don’t feel guilty for maintaining online boundaries that you’re comfortable with.

  2. Jennifer says:

    I keep my Facebook page pretty locked down, and I think the only way someone would be able to find my profile and send me a friend request is if we have a mutual friend in common. If I’m not interested in linking up with them, I just click delete/deny and don’t bother explaining myself, especially if they haven’t bothered to send a message accompanying their request.
    The only time I sent a message was when the same guy sent me two friend requests. I politely explained that just because we have a few contacts in common doesn’t mean it’s enough for me to add him, and that I’m extremely private and don’t even add everyone I DO know. Fortunately, he was cool about it.
    In your case, I’d just deny/decline and not even bother explaining why. Look at your privacy settings and see what you can do to make yourself a little bit harder to find, if these requests from strangers are getting to be too numerous or annoying.

  3. Gary Overton says:

    I don’t friend everyone but I do friend a lot of people I do not know personally.
    I friended you because I have heard you on various shows over the years and have read some of your stuff. I don’t agree with a lot of what you say but am open-minded enough to want to hear different opinions.
    I read EVERY post by every friend. This takes up a lot of time BUT I get benefit from this.
    I live alone and work alone and seldom get out. By keeping up with different people online I am able to have some semblance of a social life without ever leaving my home or office. I have been doing this since 1995, first with a Prodigy chat room and later with an Amazon.com seller discussion board.
    I have made many friends all over the world over the years by doing this. I have in turn met some of these “friends” as I have traveled or attended conferences.
    I do not keep a separate “professional” life.
    I try not to hide anything from anyone. This may not be wise professionally but this is just the way I am.
    I use Facebook to not only keep up with professional contacts but also family and long-time friends. I do not like to talk on the phone so I even use Facebook to keep in touch with my daughter and grandkids. I know more about their daily lives than I ever did before I started using Facebook and they in turn know more about me also.
    (Just one old farts opinion)

  4. NullApps says:

    I don’t really use facebook. I’ve never even written on somebody’s wall and I only have double digit friends. What I would suggest though is friending as many as possible because there may come a day you can trade them in for cool discounts or prizes.