Damn You, Facebook!

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:

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.

3 Comments so far


I can understand that your had is spinning. I have the same approach but in my experience 7 groups are too granular. In reality I am working with three groups which have a distinguished level of what they can access: friends (including family), business contacts, and ‘limited profile’.
But to be honest, I am tinkering about removing the people in this last group from my friends list, haha…

Posted on June 25, 2010 at 04:15 AM | Comment permalink

So true, how often have I heard now on nights out ‘’you can find me on FB’’ - the exchange of business cards almost eliminated.
Or the ‘so-called-friend’ FB stalker ‘’you’re having a party? - why was I not invited!?’’ Because, if I wanted you there, I would have invited you!
I also recently categorised into three groups. My private life is my private life. Work-life does have a certain social element, but needs to be limited profile. I simply do not wish to share my private holiday snaps with the rest of the world; true friends yes; male colleagues who simply wish to oggle over my summer snaps wearing nothing but a bikini - definitely NOT.

Posted on June 29, 2010 at 10:07 PM | Comment permalink

Good post.  We all have tried to solve this problem at one time or another.  I used to do the same - FB - Social Only; Twitter - Business; Linkedin - Business.  But the streams have begun to cross and I haven’t done the security thing yet, but that may be coming.  What drives me crazy is those people that you put in Linkedin for business decide to link FB or Twitter to it.  Then you get a bunch of personal status updates in what you had set up as a business network.  Grrrrrr.

Posted on July 21, 2010 at 08:55 PM | Comment permalink

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