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Facebook advice?

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So I recently registered at Facebook, and I'm finding that basically everyone I've ever known is on this thing and wants to be my "friend". I really only intended to add my immediate family and current and select old friends who I wanted to keep in touch with. However my family is connected to, well, everybody else in the family tree and every family friend we've ever had. I'm also receiving requests from high school acquaintances.

What's the etiquette? Is it considered rude to just ignore the requests? How do people usually handle this? I don't want to offend anyone, but I also don't want a million people on my friend's list who I no longer have anything in common with.

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I've been invited by a few people, but I can't figure out why I need to keep track of what so many others are doing. Any suggestions?

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I think that according to the general etiquette it's a bit rude to ignore the requests. On the other hand, most people are probably just sending requests because they are a bit curious about what you are doing these days, and some may just be out to win the Facebook popularity contest - where the one with the most "friends" wins. I can't imagine anyone taking it too badly if you ignore them.

Personally I just confirm most of the requests I get(not that I get many of them though :wacko: ), I just take it very lightly and don't see why not. I don't regard it as a list over my best and closest friends, and I have never been bothered by anyone so...

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My view is that a "friend" on Facebook is not the equivalent of a real-life close friend, so I accept just about anyone as a friend on Facebook provided they aren't a bad person or I have no clue at all who they are.

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Well, I do think that most people use it to see how many people they can connect with from their past. Thing is, I'm not all that interested in the people from my past. That's why they're in the past rather than the present. And I don't want to feel like my whole family tree is looking over my shoulder at what I'm doing. I enjoy seeing them all a couple times a year, but I don't need or want to be in constant contact. So I guess it's kind of a privacy thing.

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So I recently registered at Facebook, and I'm finding that basically everyone I've ever known is on this thing and wants to be my "friend". I really only intended to add my immediate family and current and select old friends who I wanted to keep in touch with. However my family is connected to, well, everybody else in the family tree and every family friend we've ever had. I'm also receiving requests from high school acquaintances.

What's the etiquette? Is it considered rude to just ignore the requests? How do people usually handle this? I don't want to offend anyone, but I also don't want a million people on my friend's list who I no longer have anything in common with.

The choice is yours.

I've chosen to use Facebook for two main purposes: (1) to keep in touch with and inform my Objectivist friends and (2) to reconnect with family and people I grew up with. I've had "friend" requests from others, but I reply to them saying I appreciate their interest, but I am limiting my Facebook "friends" to philosophical colleagues, immediate family, and close personal friends.

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Another option is to play around with the privacy settings so that certain people can't see more than you'd like them to.

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Well, I do think that most people use it to see how many people they can connect with from their past. Thing is, I'm not all that interested in the people from my past. That's why they're in the past rather than the present. And I don't want to feel like my whole family tree is looking over my shoulder at what I'm doing. I enjoy seeing them all a couple times a year, but I don't need or want to be in constant contact. So I guess it's kind of a privacy thing.

I feel this way also, and (aside from my husband) I leave out family. I have kept my list so far to O'ists only. That includes those I admire more than know, those I've met and like but they live far away, those met only via the internet and Objectivist blogs, and those local O'ist friends and acquaintances who have Facebook accounts.

I even leave out one sister who is an AR fan too, and with whom I am quite close. Instead, we keep in touch via e-mail, because if she were 'friends' with me on Facebook, that would probably open me up to many requests from others who were 'friends' with her including in-laws, cousins, aunts, parents' friends, and so on. As long as all my Facebook 'friends' are Objectivist, I feel okay about having the most basic info visible to 'friends of friends,' which enables me to meet more Objectivists. Privacy settings offer a wide range of control, though someone being a 'friend' generally means that they'll see most things, because communication with 'friends' is the main purpose of Facebook.

I leave my parents out of it for the same reasons as leaving out my sister -- and also because they would likely be appalled at being subjected to my views (or my Facebook friends' views) on a daily basis. Of course they know that I'm an Objectivist (or that I've learned my philosophy of life from Ayn Rand -- they probably couldn't dredge up the term Objectivist). In other words, they have little understanding of what Objectivism means. And I suppose that leaving them out is partly an act of mercy on my part, as well as a desire for my daily life not to be monitored by anyone not ruled primarily by reason, and with little to no understanding of egoism, or capitalism.

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I basically agree with Betsy and Rose Lake. But I just wanted to add that you should feel no compunction at all with ignoring requests. If you don't care to communicate with someone, even if it's not dislike, but lack of interest, don't sweat it.

I've actually had some contacts from a few people that I have lost touch with that I'm happy to have reconnected with, but that's the exception. And friends have sent invites to applications and quizzes and games that I'd rather not play, because (like '25 random things about me') they reveal far too much personal information that I'm not interested in sharing with the world, or even indiscriminately with all my Facebook friends.

Like anything else, use it to achieve your goals, not someone else's. (I know I really didn't have to tell you that, but it made me feel all philosophical and wise).

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I agree with alann. Who you agree to add is your business. Also, I don't even know how many people will notice that you've ignored their request. It's not as if facebook informs them that they've been rejected (or at least I hope it doesn't).

For the future, if you don't want so many friend requests, I would set your privacy settings to be only searchable by your friends, and to only show your profile to friends (if you haven't done this already). Under the "search" category in the privacy settings, you can also uncheck the option to let people friend you from a search. I believe that this makes it impossible for someone else to friend you first, though there may be a loophole (such as linking through a mutual friend).

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Thanks for the advice. I didn't want the account to be linked exclusively to Objectivists, but there is also the issue of "worlds clashing". I linked to a personal friend of mine, and his friends list has brought in requests from not only high school acquaintances but people I play World of Warcraft with. I have fun with them, but these are rowdy foul-mouthed guys who don't mesh well with other people in my life. :wacko: And while I'm not planning to use the page as a philosophy or politics blog, I do want to be able to post serious things that the people on my list will be able to appreciate.

The privacy settings seem to be very broad. I can limit access to thinks to friends, to friends of friends, to friends and networks...I want friends of friends to be able to find me through searches, and be able to add me. But this means I have to either be more restrictive of who my "friends" are, or ignore all of the requests (there's over 20 at the moment, I haven't officially "ignored" any yet). Touch choice.

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My standard of who I will accept as a friend is someone with whom I've had a strong acquaintance or friendship with at some point in life. With people I don't know, or don't want to be friends with (ex: one of my friends boyfriends) I just ignore. I don't feel bad about it at all, and I don't think you should either :wacko:

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My standard of who I will accept as a friend is someone with whom I've had a strong acquaintance or friendship with at some point in life. With people I don't know, or don't want to be friends with (ex: one of my friends boyfriends) I just ignore. I don't feel bad about it at all, and I don't think you should either :P

So what would you say to a teacher from 7th and 8th grade who wanted to add you? I'm thinking there's some people I just need to add, or there will be consequences! :wacko:

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Grade 7 and 8 teachers? Unless I really liked them or they made a difference in my life somehow, I wouldn't. Basically, everyone on my friends list I have an interest in at the very least, and would like to get together with :-)

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Do you just ignore them or say anything? For example this teacher is on my family's friend list, which is how he found me. It would be rude not to say anything, but I don't really know what to say. I'm not looking to offend a lot of people, I just want to be more in control of my friend's list.

I almost want to just delete my mom, sister and another friend to close off all of the random people. I realize I could just change the privacy setting to not allow people to send friend requests, but that would prevent people I might potentially want to link to from doing so.

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I would just ignore them. They don't get a notification that you rejected them. Or, you can always just leave it as pending. I really don't think you should worry about this. It's your profile with your own "rules" and if they are devastated or insulted because of Facebook then that is something they need to deal with.

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It's funny because since adolescence I've been told I need to be more considerate of others. My mom used to joke (kindly) when I had cold hands that she'd heard an expression "cold hands, warm heart", but wondered if that was true in my case. I don't keep in touch with extended family like they do. I couldn't be persuaded to go to Church "for the family". I once ticked off my dad by going out with a friend (who was visiting from out of town) instead of staying at home for a visit from my uncle. I'm easily the "coldest" out of my family, by the conventional definition. Sometimes I'm honest to a fault. Long ago my sister complained that a dress made her look boxy (or something like that) and I agreed with her. They were all flabbergasted, and I had no idea why.

It's just odd to see someone else playing the part of me. :wacko: So thanks, you're absolutely right. I'll use my account as I wish.

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I'll use my account as I wish.

Good! It's your account, just as it's your life. You have no obligation to anyone. ;)

Generally, I accept most everyone, except ex-girl friends or anyone I was intimate with. I believe that would be rude to my wife. Since I've started, I've been using it more and more for passing along pro-liberty and pro-Objectivist articles, images, and announcements. Most of my friends are not Objectivists, but I have received some comments of interest from them.

I did get reacquainted with an old high school friend who believes in situational ethics and claims to have read Atlas Shrugged several times, but cannot name one idea from the book. Anyway, I was close to dumping him, but he is friendly and who knows, I may post something that makes him really read Atlas or read it again and try to understand it. Also, on the News feed page you can remove people you really don't want to see or who write ridiculous non essential entries like, "I'm eating snails for lunch." They won't come back until you post on their page.

Betsy - I see you're 2 friends away from the BIG 500!

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Since I've started, I've been using it more and more for passing along pro-liberty and pro-Objectivist articles, images, and announcements.

Facebook is now my main outlet for posting links to material of interest to Objectivists. It is rather like CyberNet Jr. or CyberNet Made Easy.

I did get reacquainted with an old high school friend

I just made contact with a dear friend from elementary school. He wasn't on Facebook, but his son was. It turns out that he is now living in Boston and we made plans to meet right before OCON.

Betsy - I see you're 2 friends away from the BIG 500!

Yep! It would be cool if a member of THE FORUM "friended" me and put me over the top.

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Though many have replied, I'll add my two cents' worth:

I use Facebook primarily as a means of maintaining contact with people I know and like all over the world. I enjoy sharing photos of my travels in my new home country, as well as other exciting places I've gone since moving to Sydney last year. For the most part I accept all friend requests, but if it's someone I actively dislike, I will ignore the request. Facebook does not tell the requester the friend request was ignored. I have even removed a couple people who turned out to be vicious, like an old high school acquaintance who made an offhand remark about "cultists," meaning Objectivists.

Secondarily I will occasionally post links to good articles, Objectivist and otherwise.

Generally speaking I enjoy the ability to be friendly and serious, depending on the context. I rarely engage old high school classmates in the philosophical and political stuff because almost none of them have a grasp of these things. How many Obama supporters have a clue about anything, in other words? Zero, in my experience. Still, some of these friends have other values I enjoy, many of which are fond memories of my childhood.

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Good! It's your account, just as it's your life. You have no obligation to anyone. ;)

Hey thanks. ;)

I've remained pretty selective, not confirming extended family or people I knew in high school but was never friends with. And so far I've made light use of the page, just posting some pics and info. Maybe something I could do is fix up papers I wrote for class and link to them for people to read? I'll have to give some more thought to future use.

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