Only friend people you are sure you know.
Linkedin, a professional social networking site always tells you this. They tell you that you should only connect to people you are sure you know. They believe in this advice so much that if you try to connect to someone you need to tell them how you know the person, and if you haven't worked together, done business togehter or are a friend, then it is 'see you later Charlie'. Turns out, this is pretty sound advice.
I admit it, I am a Facebook junkie. I am on Facebook every single day, checking my friends' news feeds, things they post, statuses, etc. I post something nearly every day, some days many things. I am on Facebook so much that even some of my colleagues at work have commented on how much I am posting.
As someone who lives abroad, far away from the many people who are near and dear, Facebook has become like a lifeline home, a way that I can have frequent contact with many friends and family who are far away. It's great that you can see photos and other posts and comment on them and share little snippets. It helps me be far away without feeling far away and that is what I love about Facebook. It brings home and many people I really love a lot closer.
I also love that I have been able to reestablish contact with people who fell off the radar eons ago. I am friends with people that I haven't seen since elementary or middle school, distant relatives who I haven't seen in years, friends and acquaintances from high school, college, youth group, former colleagues and a lot of close friends and of course my family.
I frequently break some FB rules, particularly the ones about posting mundane status updates, but heck, I don't care, it's for fun. I also often look at friends profiles, to see their photos or what they post about and I admit it I do on occasion look to see how many friends people have and if I am really bored, I sometimes look at who they are friends with to see if I know anyone.
I do guard my FB privacy vigilently, although I post every day I only post to friends and sometimes even restrict certain posts from appearing in certain people's news feeds. I think a lot about the messages I am sending and how they will be perceived and try as much as possible to choose my audience accordingly. Of course anyone connected to me can see my posts by going to my profile and seeing my wall, so it is not so private, but I always think that people are probably not interested in me enough to stalk my wall to see what I am posting if it doesn't appear in their news feed. I kind of think this theory is close to true since people whose news feeds I don't routinely publish to also never comment on my posts. I am just the boring FB girl who posts about soup ladels. No use going to her profile to see tons o'photos of her kid and her silly political leanings, right?
Over the past day or two I heard from a friend that someone whose friend request I accepted a week or two ago is now approaching my friends to try and be friends with them. This person is not someone that I am even 100% sure that I know. This person sent me a couple of friend requests, the first couple I ignored because I was sure I didn't know her, but then I saw we have about 30 friends in common and I started thinking that maybe I did know her, but perhaps she is using her married name. So I accept the friend request. Now I find out that this person is approaching my friends and trying to friend them, explaining that she is a friend of mine, which has led my friends to WTH me more than once. I cannot imagine why this person would be approaching my friends, even if you are searching for neighbors in Farmville, this just seems over the line, no?
Like I said, I am a Facebook junkie but I would never send a friend request to a total stranger just because they are a friend of my friend, particularly if my friend was someone I don't know very well.
The next time I get a friend request in FB, I am applying the Linkedin principle and going to call up the Linkedin connection request in my mind and fill in the little form in my head and if I can't check a box on how I know the person, then if none of the boxes are checked, sorry Charlie.