Who are Friends on Facebook and MySpace? Should you accept every Request? What if you rather not accept a Request? Recently it seems I've had an increase in Friend requests from folks that I have never met, but we share a common interest, or met just briefly once. I began to wonder how to best handle this.
The easy answer is just to say Ignore or No, but then again you never know what bridge you might inadvertantly burn. This led me to consider the goals of my social networks and the capabilities of those networks. For me, MySpace was easy -- I use it to connect with my interest in Blues music. I have "requested friendship" with many musicians who I have never met, and we've connected. Facebook though has been a different story.
Up until recently, I had most of my privacy settings set so anyone in my network could view information about me. I was treating Facebook as a more personal network, predominately filled with family, friends, and current and former co-workers. But I had also gotten lazy and accept Friend Requests from people that I don't really know. So, in getting back to my goal with Facebook, I think I want it just for those folks who I've had a personal relationship with.
Oh, but how does that translate to folks that I have just recently met? Where do you draw the line, or rather, what qualifies a person to cross into that territory? I guess for those that I share a music interest, I can suggest we keep in touch through MySpace. And for those business associates, I can steer them toward LinkedIn. Anyone else left? For those, we need a new security option on Facebook to signify friends that are not yet qualified friends. Facebook, can you give a guy a little help here?
To wrap this up, I found a couple blog posts that seemed to touch on some of the same subject matter. DormDelicious has some etiquette guides, that if followed might keep you from getting Friend Requests from people you don't yet know. Quarterlife Cafe talks a bit about putting some thought into what your your social networks and what you share and what it says about you on. Finally, LifeHacker has a couple guideing principles and some interesting perspectives with the comments section.