Facebook, MySpace and Creepiness

Facebook MySpace Creepiness
Sabrena Suri, a CNET News.com intern, is creeped out by Old Married Guys in Facebook asking to be her friend. (That, by the way, is why I never intiate a Facebook friendship with people under 30. If they ask to be my friend, it’s fine.) I don’t think most people in her age group would have a problem with people her parents’ age networking for professional reasons in Facebook, as long as we don’t ask to be her friend.

And even if she does have a problem with it, it doesn’t really matter. By opening up to anyone over 13 with an email address, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has decided that the site will not remain just for college students. As the cover story in the current issue of Newsweek explains:

Speaking with NEWSWEEK between bites of a tofu snack, (Zuckerberg) is much more interested in explaining why Facebook is (1) not a social-networking site but a “utility,” a tool to facilitate the information flow between users and their compatriots, family members and professional connections; (2) not just for college students, and (3) a world-changing idea of unlimited potential… But the nub of his vision revolves around a concept he calls the “social graph.”

The reason Facebook appeals to non-creepy old married guys is because we can connect with high school and college classmates we haven’t seen in a couple of decades. We can be Facebook friends with our kids (again, I waited for them to invite me) and with some of their friends. And because Facebook is, as Zuckerberg says, not just a networking site but a utility. I can do neat things like share really big files that are too big for email attachments through MediaFire‘s Facebook application, for instance. Or I can share video in a more protected space than YouTube, and with better quality. Like the video of my daughter’s wedding.

Most importantly, I don’t have to worry about creepy come-ons from (allegedly) young women named “Ivy” or “Karan” or “Zada” who want to be my “friends” on MySpace. I have a MySpace page because I thought I should, as part of my work, to understand how each site works. With one exception, these are the only kinds of friend requests I have gotten in MySpace:

myspace creepy friend request
And when I log in and check the profile for “Zada” I see this:

creepy myspace friend request

To be fair, I haven’t done a lot of updating of my MySpace profile to have any really meaningful information there, so that’s probably why I get the porn spammers. (At least I assume that’s what they are; I haven’t ever clicked the View My Pictures link.)

But Facebook seems much less susceptible to such shenanigans. Without exception, every friend request I’ve gotten in Facebook seems to be someone who shares a common interest that they have discovered either through reading my blog or within Facebook.So, if you’ve found my blog interesting, you can friend me in Facebook, too.

What’s your experience? Do you have profiles in Facebook, MySpace or both? What is the quality of the friend requests you receive?

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of seven, and the Chancellor of SMUG - Social Media University, Global. By day I'm the Director of the Mayo Clinic Social Media Network. Whatever I say here is my personal opinion, and doesn't reflect the positions of my employer.

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