You’re new in town. You meet new people, and they want to be friends… on Facebook. What do you do? Do you:
(a) accept request
(b) ignore request
(c) accept request but only for a limited profile
(d) do nothing
It depends, of course. For me a request from a colleague is clearly a (d). Facebook to me is for friends; for everything else there’s LinkedIn. Until of course that colleague becomes a friend, then s/he gets the privilege of knowing what you had for supper the night before.
The problem with choosing (d) for colleagues is those darn corridors that you share with them, where the chances of the topic of friend request coming up are unreal. “What did you do over the weekend?”, you ask innocently. And you get a reply like, “Well, I did this and that. And if you had accepted my friend request you’d have known that already.”
So what do you do if you want to avoid unnecessary grief? Someone suggested that I go for ( c ). To do ( c ) you’d need to group your “friends” into different lists, and every time you post an update of any sort you specify which lists can view the update and which cannot. The person who offered me the suggestion has 7 lists:
- Intimate Friends
- Close Friends
- Work Partners
- Limited Profile
Did your head spin? Imagine the amount of time and effort needed for that level of differentiation, and the categories aren’t even mutually exclusive! As far as I can tell, he likes people in the first group most and those in the last least.
Are we spending too much time social networking? According to Nielson the world spends 22% of internet time on social networking (thanks to Gauri Salokhe for alerting me to this link). I’m suddenly nostalgic of those good old pre-Facebook days when maintaining social networks was so much less complicated.
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