Facebook Friend Rules

I suppose I have brought this on myself (or maybe that’s just a blame-the-victim mentality), but some recent developments have led me to establish some new rules for accepting Facebook friend requests.

I have previously encouraged any SMUG students or even casual readers to add me as a Facebook friend. I still hope you will. The fact that you’re here suggests that Google thought you might find this content interesting and relevant, and that you took Google’s recommendation. We should be friends, even if we haven’t yet met.

But in the last month or two I’ve had an alarming increase in friend requests from people who seem to think Facebook is the next Amway, and who want to use it mainly as a tool for multi-level marketing.

Getting away from spam (the electronic kind, not the trademarked kind that is made in my home town, and which saved Western civilization during World War II) is a major part of Facebook’s appeal. I don’t want to be bombarded with get-rich-quick schemes.

Lately, I’ve had too many scenarios like this, which started last night:

11:09 p.m. on 6/14/08 – I accept a friend request from Jan Cheung

Within a few hours I had received this (click to enlarge):

And very shortly after that I received these two group invitations:

Jan’s not the only one who’s done this, but this was the proverbial straw.

So he’s not my friend any more. Not in Facebook, and after this post, likely not elsewhere either.

And I’ve developed some new rules for Facebook friend requests. I’ve had other people whom I have accepted as friends send friend requests to my kids, who thought they should add people because I did.

So here are my new rules, which are less strict than Facebook would suggest, but yet leave room open for connecting with people who have a common interest in learning about social media, not just using people as leverage points.

  1. Send me a message with your friend request. Give me some sense that you’ve read one or more of my blog posts, and that you added me in Facebook from here instead of from someone else’s list of friends. If you say something about SMUG, I’ll know you weren’t just cruising people’s friend lists and adding people in alphabetical order.
  2. Don’t spam me. If you send me a message inviting me to join a group within 24 hours of becoming my friend, or make me one of 8-10 recipients of one of your messages, I will “unfriend” and block (and perhaps report) you.

If you’re reading this post, you’re exactly the kind of person with whom I want to be friends. But for those who add me because I’m first in alphabetical order in all my friends’ lists as you cruise Facebook, they’ll be ignored.

Are you having a problem with friend spam, or is this just among the cons (there are many pros) of having a surname like Aase?

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Author: Lee Aase

Married father of six and grandfather of nine, 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.

0 thoughts on “Facebook Friend Rules”

  1. One reason of many that I don’t do Facebook. Then again, marketing the way you say is effective. But my feelings are that if someone is making money off of me, I’d better make a cut. There are good articles on the Amway Global business in the link provided. Though they’ve had their ups and downs on the Internet by critics and all, you can say that about Microsoft, Wal-Mart, Mother Teresa, the Pope, Michael Jordan…whoever! Anyone who has achieved success is going to have some opposition. At least they have achieved success are still in business for almost 50 years!

    Point is, unless you got something good to offer, you better not be offering via an online site. It’s so impersonal.

  2. In the last 3-4 weeks, I’ve faced the same thing and have declined a couple who just keep trying. Interestingly I am also seeing this in CollectiveX another platform I’m invovled in. Its frustrating and part of me wants them to be shut down – but then its like the argument about freedom of speech if you draw the line anywhere you can no longer use the term “freedom”. I do like your suggestion Lee. And frankly, if someone doesn’t write me a note, I’ve been ignoring.

  3. I haven’t received much spam of this sort, but I usually do not friend people I do not know if real life (you being one of the exceptions, Lee!). For me, the greatest spam frustration is from real-life friends who persistently send me invitations to various applications (“So-and-So gave you a piece of flair!” etc.). The “Block this application” function has helped immensely in cutting back on these unwanted requests.

  4. Have not had too much of a problem. A couple of friend requests frompeople who are in the content creation area included a personal message and I added, but was a little wary of the true intent behind the requests. I will clearly block anyone who abuses it. Your friend rules are excellent. @ Brycie Jones- agree it’s the invitations to add apps (though I’m sure well-intentioned) that are frustrating

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