I get the value of using Facebook for business building purposes, believe me – but there is still a part of me that resists friending ‘anyone and everyone’ in order to have as many friends as possible.
For me it dilutes the purpose of Facebook – to connect and build relationships – to have just under 5000 friends (the current Facebook limit of # of friends a person can have) most of whom I don’t know at all. And yes, I understand that the more friends I have the more people who can see my posts, status updates, etc.
However when I get these friends requests out of the blue from people i’ve never heard of – quite a few these days! – I can’t help but wonder who the heck these people are? And why would I want to ‘friend’ them? And nine times out of ten these people don’t include any kind of personal message as to why they want to connect with me. Which to me means that they don’t really care who I am – they just want to get as close to that magic number as possible.
I like to compare it to a regular ‘offline’ encounter (which is rare for me these days, LOL). Say I was at a local networking meeting, and someone came up to me, handed me a business card without saying a word and then moved on to the next person. I don’t know about you, but that person’s card would go straight into the garbage bin on my way out the door.
This ‘friend everyone I can’ Facebook strategy feels very much the same to me. And so i’ve set up a personal rule for accepting new friend requests – they need to either be:
- people I actually know – I LOVE how many old friends and business contacts i’ve been able to reconnect with in Facebook! OR
- people who take the time to send a message along with their request – even just saying ‘hey tina, i see you are also friends with X and would love to connect with you as well’
As a good rule of thumb I think it’s a great idea to always send a personal message with your friend requests – even if you know the person they may not necessarily remember you, especially if a few years have passed. I’ve had that happen a few times where I know the name but can’t remember exactly how we met, so even just to say ‘hey sarah, i haven’t seen you since we met at conference X – what a blast that was when we went out for dinner that night! how are you?’
I really enjoy my Facebook connections, and want to keep them ‘real’ – for me it dilutes my connections to have a bunch of people who don’t know me at (nor I them). Be it a new friend or old, if we can make an authentic connection I would love to become your Facebook friend. 🙂