Phil Reese

Why are you friending me?

Filed By Phil Reese | September 12, 2010 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment
Tags: Facebook, Facebook stalking, New Media

I love the internet and the ability it has to connect us all, making the world a lot smaller, tighter-knit place. That's why I love Leone Kraus's posts as well as Nathan Strang's & Jerame Davis'.

facebookstalk.jpgBut just because you can connect with just about anyone, doesn't mean you should. Or you should at least keep in mind practical social mores when you do.

Before Facebook, few people just ran up to strangers with no context and shrieked "LET ME IN YOUR LIFE!" However, that's exactly how I feel when I get on Facebook, I have friend requests on a daily basis from folks I don't know, who have hidden most of the information on their profile and have left me no information that tells me exactly why I am getting this abrupt intrusion.

We need to set up a few boundaries here.

Yes, I know, I'm sort of a public figure. Well, quasi, at least. Ten people read my blogs when they go up. I do expect that folks are going to find me on Facebook. Still I keep myself difficult to find, and there's a reason for that. Respect the boundary and recognize it, don't just pop in out of nowhere.

If, somehow, you find me, remember--I don't know who the hell you are. Most folks keep a lot of their information private to the world, but somehow this seems to slip their mind when they are friending people. Your profile picture is of a LOLcat, your "current city," and none of your bio and personal information is visible, I see we have 10 friends in common, but that's about it.

You could be a bot.

If the only thing I can see about you is that you love Lady Gaga, I'm ignoring your friend request. Sorry. Don't take it personal. But you're getting the same treatment that the other 100 people whose profiles looked pretty much exactly the same got.

How can you prevent this from happening? How can you win your way into my world?

There is a little function Facebook has built into the "friend request" protocol that allows you to attach a message to your friend request. I see that it seems less than 0.000000000001% of Facebook stalkers... er... users use this function. That is truly a shame. Definitely get in the habit.

Give this sudden and abrupt self-introduction a little context. Tell me why you are friending me.

Be specific. For example, don't put "You rock." Yeah. Thanks. I know. I need a bit more than that.

"I really hated your blog about GetEQUAL and I want to be connected on Facebook so that I can hound you."

That's much better. At least they're honest. I'm going to go ahead and "friend" them.

Remember, I can't see your interests, or what you are into or where you are from. Give me a brief bio. I have friend lists for different parts of the country, tell me where you are from so I know if you're a hometown friend or someone from California. That helps me put you in the right group and keeps you to the top of my messenger list.

"I'm from Champaign IL too! I moved into the apartment next to yours when I saw you lived there. I really love dressing like you and following you around and watching you feed your bunnies, and someday hope to make you my famous rabbit stew!"

Now that is a decent effort. A+ You get an add, Ms. Glenn Close!

Please do the friendly, neighborly thing and introduce yourself a bit. Treat Facebook like you would a networking or social gathering. Its better to spend some time and build a few less higher quality connections, than to take the Pokemon and try to catch 'em all. Your friendly neighborhood psudeo-public figures will thank you.

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Amen Phil! Amen!

I've had a number of "friends" find me via Facebook since I began writing for Bilerico. I only friend the one's who say something personal like, "I love your blog!" The rest go to the "ignore" pile or get sent to my personal Fan Page.

OMG, a article I can sink my teeth into! I HATE BLIND FREIND REQUESTS! Some times its the "well, we have 18 friends in common, so-snd-so freinded me, why won't you?" Why won't I freind you? uh... I don't know you. Simply because a computer somewhere says we have mutual friends does not make me your freind. Me rejecting your freind request doesn't mean I don't support our community, it simply means I don't know you or think of you as a friend.
So far in 3 years on Facebook I've gotten 4 lurkers (all from North Carolina) and just as many ...people of questionable intent asking to be a freind. I know better now days to demand an introduction from them. Yeah, demand. If they don't respond or give me a lame ass introduction or worse, lie to me. *click* deletion is swift and final.
I DO introduce freinds that I have to others formally. Often its to help out someone who needs someone more experianced than I am in some way. When I do that, everyone benefits from the freinding. I never simply tell someone "go find so-and-so on Facebook". That is crass and bad mannered.
Yeah, so far I have had NO ONE who has sent me a freind request send an introduction at all. I wish Facebook mandated an introduction to prevent bots, lurkers and perv's from bugging me.

Oh Phil. I just wanna bask in your glow. Is that too much to ask?

I have more of a problem with people I've known in the past or am related to rather than total strangers. I've been sent friend requests from friends I knew in high school that rejected me when I came out, and even one who tried to pick fights with me. And I'm just like...why? It's not like I'm still holding a grudge, I just don't know why they want to be friends now. I'm also perplexed by some of my family that don't really want to know about the gay but want to be my friend on Facebook.

I had this same experience too. I think part of it is guilt. It may not make you feel better but rather them. I friended all of them because we all were just kids. Now that I'm older and wiser, I realize that tolerance and acceptance truly starts in the home. If it wasn't present in their home life, how could I expect them to truly accept me then.

Now I'm older and they watch me via Facebook as I grow to become a trusted (at least I hope so) voice in the community. I've even received two letters of apology - it's actually kind of neat.

Agreed. I'm with Leone here. I welcome it. Its amazing how much people change. I think its groovy. I love seeing someone come around. I believe in redemption and forgiveness. Except Karl Rove. I will never forgive him. Everyone else, you got a shot.

I'm a bit blessed, though, that I had a different experience. I came out in high school, and they elected me to student Government and put me on Homecomming court and made me manager of the Baseball team, so... I can't really speak on your experience, and very much probably should not.

In fact, the ONLY friends I lost in high school when I came out where the other closeted gay guys. They kicked me out of the circle and didn't want to be associated with me anymore. All the straight kids embraced me open arms. Totally weird.

Eh. I friend everyone who requests it from me unless they look like a bot or an org (but I've let a few of the latter slide). But then I don't put anything personal on there so I'm not too worried.

Is it really that taxing to just hit the ignore button? Really. I've had people I know try to friend me and I hit ignore because WE'RE NOT FRIENDS. If they take it personally that's on them. All this hand wringing about "friending" people is just fucking ridiculous. Grow up. This collecting of people on facebook is akin to matchbook cars or bubblegum cards. It's all just a childish game. If you're a public figure then create the appropriate profile and then just anybody can "like" you and hound or not hound you. Who CARES? It's not real life, it's online.

I'm glad I'm not the only one with problems like this ...

When Facebook reached "critical mass" a year or two ago I tried it. Many of my friend requests got ignored, and I got friend requests from people I didn't know ... then, I got *LOTS* of friend requests from people I didn't know, and that freaked me out. That was about the time that people started marketing things via Facebook, and I assumed that most of these "friend requests" were actually people who eventually wanted to sell me something. I already have plenty of junk mail in my life, so I deactivated my Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Not participating on Facebook and Twitter dooms me to the cyber-dinosaur-pit, I know ... but oh well, I'll be dead for real someday, and at least I will not have wasted all that time online "friending" people who would not cross the street to give me the time of day if we knew each other in person.

I-- I mean, THEY just want you to toil in their Farmville plantations and clean their pet stores and stuff. If you don't, then they shall continue to poke you!

i admit it. i hit ignore unless there is a reason not to. it seems some people just friend those with whom they share friends. if we were at a party, that might be an excuse for a converstion but it clogs up my inbox.