If you are on Facebook then you probably know that about every three months there's another flurry of messages about security changes and to change your privacy settings. I decided I wanted to share my philosophy on Facebook and privacy in terms of those Friend requests you get.
First, a story. I belong to a group of Brats. Although often associated with the military, our Brats are associated with oil. Our parents worked for an overseas oil company. We are a tight group with reunions of hundreds of attendees every odd numbered year. I happen to be the Class of 1980 rep so I have my personal FB page and then a special class page. I had a Brat (not in my class) who would repeatedly send me a Friend Request and I kept 'ignoring' it. After, seriously, like 20 attempts I got fed up and sent him a message. I told him that just because he was a Brat doesn't mean I have to grant him access to my profile. Please stop pestering me with requests. He got all pissed off, called me names, and said he was going to tell his sister (who was in my class) what a horrible person I was. Who cares?! Not like I was friends with his sister anyway. Whiny, little tattle tale.
For the rest of you, it could be - just because we went to XXX high school together, or lived in Podunk city together, doesn't mean I need to be your friend.
I know of at least two of my friends who refuse to even join Facebook. They have privacy, security, and waste-of-time issues. That's cool.
Some people will friend anybody who asks. Perhaps they think it's a popularity contest - those with the most friends win. Whatever. I know of another case of a Sacramento guy who friended one of my Brat classmates who lives in Texas. Why? He wasn't a Brat or had ever met her or anything. My opinion, he was collecting pretty blondes. Creepy. I, of course, notified said Brat about this weird behavior and she dropped him.
Honestly, I don't even see a need to be friends with all my classmates. The Class page was created as a way for everybody to find each other and share messages and photos. Besides, with the amount of status updates I do via Twitter, they would probably get fed up with me and 'hide' me anyway.
Another example, just because I met you one time at a social event doesn't mean you are now entitled to friend me. I need to know somebody for a certain amount of time to feel like I know them enough to grant them friend status. Oh, and the best example that everyone can relate to - coworkers! I don't need a whole bunch of work people knowing my personal business.
The point is, everybody has their own comfort level. Mine, I feel, is an appropriate middle-of-the-road approach. I'm not too worried that I wouldn't even join Facebook, but I am concerned enough to be choosy about who I want to grant access to. Anyone can follow me on Twitter. I've got no issues there. And anyone can keep up with what I'm up to by following this blog.
If you are a friend, consider yourself privileged. If I ignore/deny your request, please don't take it personally. I certainly don't when people deny my requests to them.