Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Facebook etiquette

Oh, what deep and wide moral dilemmas arise on Facebook.

Or maybe it's just a sign of my being a social doormat.

Let me explain.

Shortly after I joined Facebook, someone sent me a friend request. I didn't recognize the name, I didn't recognize the face. But we had something like six friends in common. Based on who those common friends were, I reasoned it must be someone I knew (or at least should know) from the Cosmique Krewe of Colour, so I accepted the friend request.

About a month ago, I received a similar friend request. I didn't recognize the name, I didn't recognize the face. But his profile was viewable by everyone in the San Francisco network, so I was able to see that he seemed harmless enough -- he's recently married, so probably not someone looking for dates; there isn't a ton of activity on his wall, so he's not likely to become a pest; what activity is on his wall is generally links to articles that I already agree with (like "No on 8"); the two friends we have in common are Mark Leno and New Conservatory Theater (i.e., not close personal friends, but people I support). I accepted that friend request, and I seem to have been pretty much correct -- no poking, not really much interaction at all, really. It turned out to be as harmless a thing to accept as I guessed it would be.

This morning, I received a friend recommendation from another friend. The person being recommended is someone whose name I don't recognize and whose face I don't recognize. This person's profile can only be viewed by their friends, so I couldn't really see anything other than their friend list and the fact that they live in the East Bay. We have no friends in common other than the person making the recommendation.

So here's the dilemma: If I write to my friend and say, "Who is this person you're recommending and why do you think we should be Facebook friends?" I'm afraid that I'll sound paranoid or untrusting or just a plain old jerk. But if I just ignore the friend recommendation, I fear that I might still come off looking like a jerk.

For now, I have opted to ignore the friend recommendation and just keep my mouth shut.

on sites like Facebook, what's the standard etiquette when someone you don't know sends a friend request or when someone sends you a friend recommendation for someone you don't know?

Enquiring minds want to know.


Anonymous said...

I don't know about etiquette, but here is what I do.

If I get a friend request from someone I don't think I know, I send them a short, polite note to the effect of "I'm sorry, do I know you?" and if I don't, then I say "sorry, I have a policy of only adding people I've met."

I have very little compunction about ignoring friend requests, but YMMV.


BGreen said...

Actually, yesterday a single 50 year old guy who lives in LA sent me a friend request. He has something like 300 friends, and his profile is open to anyone and everyone.

I have no trouble ignoring that kind of friend request.