General Question

nikipedia's avatar

Facebook etiquette questions.

Asked by nikipedia (27333 points ) December 12th, 2008

1. Would it bother you if a friend temporarily deactivated her facebook for extremely legitimate breakup-related reasons?

2. Do you ever think it’s weird when someone friends you? How well do you have to know someone before friending is appropriate?

3. Are you usually the friender, the friendee, or do you have a good balance?

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22 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

Friendee. Almost always. I don’t really use Facebook. For instance, I wouldn’t notice if someone disabled theirs, much less care. For any reason.

I’ve been playing a game via Facebook lately. I find it incredibly weird that Barons and Knights I’ve raided for huge amounts of fake money want to friend me. No, thank you. Of course, if I can’t actually remember you AND a time we’ve spent together, no amount of “we were in school together” or “we went to camp!” will make me return a friending. I MUST know my friends. Because otherwise they aren’t really… friends?

MissAnthrope's avatar

1. No.. it’s understandable. I de-friended my ex because I couldn’t bear reading all the updates and such.

2. Yes, sometimes, but only if I don’t know who they are, there’s no obvious reason to friend me (like, we have nothing in common), and/or they seem weird. I don’t think there’s any tried-and-true formula for friending, it seems to be personal preference. Some people like having a ton of friends on those sites, even if they don’t know them or ever interact with them. Personally, I have to either have met you, be friends in real life with you, or think you look like someone I’d want to be friends with, to either ask or accept a friend request.

3. I think it’s a good balance. I periodically check the Friend Finder thing to see if anyone’s recently started a profile on FB. Sometimes I find them, sometimes they find me.

Judi's avatar

I accepted a lot of friends from another discussion board and wish I hadn’t. My page gets cluttered with a bunch of junk and I can’t see the stuff from people I know in real life. I don’t want to be rude and “un-friend” them.

cwilbur's avatar

My rule of thumb is that Facebook friends are friends. People that never said two words to me in high school and that I haven’t even seen in nearly 20 years aren’t friends.

overgrownbat's avatar

1. No.
2. Sure, sometimes. Especially when they’re just random people.
3. The friendee. I only friend people when I see them everyday.

dynamicduo's avatar

1. No it wouldn’t bother me, to me it’s the same thing as not answering phone calls or disconnecting the phone/keeping it off.
2. I don’t think it’s weird. I do only add friends who I have no problems with sharing my life to. I have chosen to refuse the friend requests of an aunt who I don’t associate with at all because I don’t care to have her see my inner facebook life.
3. Now that I’ve added my friends, requests tend to come in from either people who are just joining Facebook, or people I meet in real life. If I talk with someone and we bring up Facebook, I may search for them and add them. Generally though I’ve been accepting more requests than making requests recently.

A feature I am sad I does not exist, is the ability to essentially designate a group of friends as core friends, and the rest as acquaintances, and to be able to follow just that core group. Yes Facebook does have Friend Lists which mostly do this job, but for whatever reason I have not been able to get an RSS feed of my core friends’ status updates (it defaults to all friends), which is one of the primary ways I follow people on Facebook since I would lose all my time if I actually went on the Facebook site all day.

Sloane2024's avatar

1.) No, if they want to deactivate their account, that’s their business…
2.) If I know who the person is, then I’ll accept their friend request. As long as I’m sure they’re not a stalker, pedophile, or of otherwise dangerous persona, then they are “Facebook” friend material.
3.) I have a good balance…

loser's avatar

1. No, not at all.
2. I only accept friend requests from people who can give me a good reason why they want to be my friend.
3. I’ve been doing most of the “friending”.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

1. If someone deactivates their account, so be it. I might be a bit upset if I don’t have any other means of communication with them, but that is my own fault.

2. I’ve friended some people when I only know some people vaguely, but I don’t friend/accept requests when I don’t know the person at all, even if they know friends of mine. My only exception to this is when I was entering college, I friended other people from groups about being a freshman at my school, but I’ve since met many of these people.

3. When I meet new people, I’ll get their name so I can friend them on facebook. If I receive requests, it’s usually someone I haven’t seen in a long time (ie middle school and such) or someone I don’t know.

girlofscience's avatar

I’d be fucking furious if a friend temporarily deactivated her facebook account. Seriously.

nikipedia's avatar

@girlofscience: What if your friend was trying to seriously, finally end a protracted seven-month breakup and wasn’t willing to unfriend all mutual friends of the ex or untag all pictures of them together? Isn’t that a legitimate reason for deactivation?

What about as a compromise, you change my password so I can’t log in and don’t give me the new one until I’m ready for it?

girlofscience's avatar

@nikipedia: I think deactivating facebook means that you’re letting the break up take over your life. (Not that facebook is your life, but in all honesty, it’s pretty representative… your friends, your events, your communication, etc.) It is fair to defriend a person as to not be able to contain to bother with him and see what’s going on with him and get upset, but I think deactivating facebook is a bit extreme.

If you’re still insistent, I’ll go for the compromise!

Trustinglife's avatar

Interesting question!

1. I get such joy out of Facebook, and knowing what my friends are up to in all kinds of quirky ways. If a close friend deactivated, it wouldn’t bother me, but it would raise an eyebrow, and I’d be sad about it. I might encourage them to consider an alternative.

2. Occasionally I’ll get a “weird” friend request. If I don’t know them, I’ll ask them to explain why they friended me, and then I’ll choose. If they respond, I usually say yes, and I’m rarely grateful I said yes.

2b. How well do I have to know someone? I’m thorough, and I have standards. My standards: I don’t add people who I just know. If we would recognize each other at an event, I wouldn’t necessarily friend them. It has to go beyond that. I have to actually experience a connection with them. If that’s there, I friend them. This may be a bit extreme, but just about everyone in my life who has a Facebook account, and I have that kind of relationship with, I’ve found them, and friended them. Like I said, I get a lot of joy out of Facebook. I have friends on Facebook from literally all parts of my life, including elementary school.

3. It’s always a pleasant surprise to be the friendee; I’m usually the friender. I’m on Facebook pretty much every day to read my friends’ status updates. @DD, I’m totally with you on Facebook having an option to create a core group to follow. That would save me SOOOO much time!

Why do I always end up writing such frickin long responses?? Sorry!

galileogirl's avatar

I AM SO OLD!!! How do you people have time to put so much into Facebook and similar sites? I am not trying to be rude, seriously, I just don’t get it. I am guilt ridden by the time I spend here when I really should be doing other things and I only answer 4 or 5 topics a day.

Maybe because I deal with so many people every day, I can’t see investing any more time with (in reality) strangers. Do most people have limited contact on their jobs, ie less than 20 conversations a day?

Back when Myspace was the thing I was curious enough to look and even then I didn’t see why people went there. I searched to see if any colleagues were there and the 2 pages I found were so mundane. And I have heard that people use this kind of place to say nasty things about others. But it’s kind of like, what does it matter? Do peope need to enumerate their friendships to feel validated. Why are you interested in the minutiae of someone’s life?

Enlighten me, please.

nikipedia's avatar

@galileogirl: Wow, for someone who’s not trying to be rude, you sure are succeeding at it. So everyone on facebook has poor time management skills, doesn’t interact with enough people face-to-face, seeks validation by quantifying friends, and is interested in the minutiae of other people’s lives? Thanks.

Facebook is a great tool for people who know how to use it correctly. It’s an easy way to pass a quick message to let someone know you’re thinking about him/her, and a convenient way to organize study groups, parties, outings, volunteer events, or any other activity to which you hope to invite many people. You can commiserate over coursework, offer a quick word of encouragement, keep track of acquaintances and distant friends as they go through life, see pictures of your baby cousin, reconnect with people you’ve lost touch with, and so on. You know, all that “minutiae” you mentioned.

I’m sure nasty people say nasty things on facebook, just like judgmental people say judgmental things on Fluther (ahem). That has nothing to do with the medium of communication.

Hope you feel “enlightened” now. Have a great weekend.

Trustinglife's avatar

Great answer Niki.
@galileogirl, I wasn’t offended by your post; I heard your bewilderment and your desire to understand. We all connect with friends differently. In addition to those I hang out with day-to-day, I have many friends from high school and college that I don’t live near and can’t hang out with regularly. (I grew up and went to college in the midwest, and I’m now in CA.) Facebook allows me to enjoy and constantly renew and rekindle all these relationships. It’s great fun for me.

I don’t know how old you are, but you did say “I am so old!” I really think there is a generation difference here. Social networking just makes sense to my generation somehow. And you’re right – if your friends and colleagues aren’t on it, it indeed does not make any sense.

galileogirl's avatar

Niki: Aside from the fact that the “everyone” is yours, not mine, does that mean the only people you communicate with on Facebook are people you are personally acquainted with? Hmmm, I thought it was used to meet people. I thought I had heard about meeting on Facebook.

Ok then everyone in a social circle has to participate on the same site, or do you have multiple pages (or whatever they are called) and if you subscribe to several again that seems like it takes a lot of time and effort instead of being efficient communication. BTW we always have been able to do those things except maybe not so much extraeneous stuff.

I still don’t get the time commitment. Not only does one post to ones own account (see, I’m purposely not saying you or everyone-no judgments) but one must check all friends’ pages in case something urgent comes up, like where the study group is meeting.

trust:thanks, I’ll be eligible for social security in less than a year but still am pretty well versed in technology, My double major in 1981 included MIS-so I am a consumer not a creator. I still use pen and paper to communicate in depth with my Mom, we tried to get her on line but at 85 she says she’s too busy. Also, there is nothing better than a letter in business or legal situations, proof of communication, Email is great for nonurgent quick communication while the fastest is the phone. I occasionally connect to old schoolmates through specific sites but I receive notification through email, honestly you don’t have much in common besides reunions after 40 years.

The greatest communication uses I have seen are events planning. A friend did all his wedding communication including invitations, gift registration, directions, RSVP’s that way and it was great. You didn’t have to keep track of pieces of paper for months but even though all you had to do was click to accept or not, he said people didn’t respond . But then the program did an automatic follow-up

So with 10 hrs a day devoted to earning a living and another 10 hrs devoted to the necessities of living and weekends and holidays devoted to just enjoying living, well…

benseven's avatar

@galileogirl – to be honest, I think you have an incredibly negative view of one of the largest and most successful social networking sites on the planet, simply based on hearsay and your own judgement calls.

The ‘time’ committment is a good demonstration of this. I recieve four, maybe five notifications from Facebook via e-mail every day. Notifications that a friend has listed me in one of their photo albums, has posted me a message, has invited to me to a social event, etc. It takes me all of two minutes to respond to one of these posts, ironically much less time than if that person were to phone, text or sometimes even e-mail me to let me know of these happenings.

Should it replace real-life conversations and communications? No. Is anyone suggesting that? No. You’ve assumed this community / service has supplanted real life, as opposed to augmenting it – which is the reason that Niki and others are expressing dismay at the possibility of no longer being able to use it for mass-communication to include a friend who’s having to ‘hide’ (essentially) from the situation that has arisen.

Other problems with your argument are essentially that you’ve made basic errors in assumption of how Facebook functions. If a study group were meeting, there would probably be an invite waiting for you upon login, or a quick use of Facebook’s powerful search facility would soon turn it up. As for hunting for happenings and gossip, much of this is eliminated by the use of a news feed in which recent events and most things that are noteworthy find their way to you.

I think, to be blunt, you are very well informed but not having used or closely investigated the service being discussed has unfortunately rendered some hostile reactions (and I’m sorry if mine has come across that way, as ironically I’m all about maintaining real life contacts and relationships in this overly tech-obsessed world also). Hopefully even this topic has helped dispel some of the myths for you.

Just to also mention, Facebook is becoming less and less of a ‘Generation Txt’ commodity, and I’m happy to say my parents use it to communicate with friends they’ve lost touch with, and harness its various other uses to further relationships and keep in touch.

Any service that encourages the sharing of thoughts, communication and promoting relationships and social events, with a low barrier to user interaction and a critical mass such as Facebook’s, should be commended highly!

galileogirl's avatar

That’s why I asked to begin with but I didn’t know it was such a hot button issue that would bring such defensive answers…very interesting!

Trustinglife's avatar

So Niki, are you satisfied with the answers you got? Anything left unresolved for you?

dynamicduo's avatar

galileogirl, Facebook features (amongst other views) a News Feed which summarizes all your friends’ recent activity on one page. You have the ability to choose what friends do and do not appear in this feed. This is one of the best ways to use Facebook keep tabs of friends without having it take all day to go through. Another way is if you enjoy the status updates, which I do, subscribe to them via RSS so you can hear when a person is doing something. This saves me time calling my friends because I can know that they’re going to Event X tonight. I am not a fan of text messaging, so I use Facebook to post on my friend’s wall to suggest dinner plans, or to ask my sister to bring a book next time she sees me, etc. Many people check Facebook more than they check their email address, so if you want to contact someone quickly it can be a free way to do so.

One of the reasons I love it so much is this: I recently graduated from university and I have all my uni friends on Facebook, both ones who graduated and ones from the lower years. Not only can I keep up to date with these people without actively taking their time to chat, but I can keep an eye on what the younger years produce. Just this past week they finished a 3D Animation course and posted all of their short films online, so I got to see the films without having to actually go to the event. And I got to give them feedback too. How awesome is this!

I use Facebook to communicate only with people I know. It allows me to learn more about these people on my own time, I can see what music we like, see what pictures they’ve put up, etc. When I meet people in real life and we become friends, we can add each other and become aware of each other’s lives. I do admit it’s a bit weird being able to peek into someone’s life, but you have all the control over how much people can peek into yours. It’s just like having a blog, just a different type of blog, one that sorta writes itself with the help of friends.

tiggersmom's avatar

I don’t go to sites like this, but internet etiquette is always appropriate, I am usually a friendee, but not on this site. Hope this helps.

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