Home Stop Accepting Facebook Friend Requests

Stop Accepting Facebook Friend Requests

What happens when we don’t accept friend requests? Facebook brings them back in yet another attempt to “help” us get to know other people who may be in our network.

When Facebook first entered college campuses in 2004, we friended people we knew. It became a game, a way to waste time between classes and something to do when we should have been working on papers. There was no need for us to try and figure out who our mutual friends were because we saw them in real life on a daily basis. They sat next to us in classrooms, at lunch; we saw them at parties, we ate brunch together on the weekend. Things were simple.

As Facebook grew and changed, the uses for a profile changed, too. Facebook decided to step in and lend a hand, identifying people who had high numbers of mutual friends, and suggesting that we connect or reconnect. For the egotistically inclined, this simple trick worked. And before long, we didn’t even know what we’re using Facebook for.

Not long ago, Facebook published a study on weak ties and connecting. It reiterated a 1973 study on weak ties, which discovered that more job opportunities and interesting news and information come to us through weak ties than through people in our direct social circles. But then there’s the weirdness factor – people, some of whom we have not seen in years, commenting on a Facebook wall. Memories surface.

Still, some of the weak ties are worth keeping around. People reconnect suddenly and spontaneously. But why does Facebook have to push the connection? Because the more connections we make, the more data Facebook has about us and our (online) social lives. And the easier it is to target advertising to us. In the era of Timeline lifestreaming, users are encouraged to share almost every minute detail of their lives. We must think carefully about the audience and the intent before we post content to Facebook.

Why Are You Using Facebook?

Are you using Facebook to stay in touch with family and friends? Are you who you say you are on Facebook? Does your Facebook personality reflect the real you? Or do you gaze into a virtual mirror that you might accidentally shoot down? Are you an artist who uses Facebook to talk about art and ideas?

To the user: Figure out what you’re using Facebook for. Accept friend requests if they are relevant to your online community. Delete people who you can’t stop stalking, and do nothing about the ones who you care about but with whom the connection may not be as strong.

Facebook cares about its users, only so much as they will help the company stay afloat. The rest is up to you.

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