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'.
But 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.