Thursday, January 24, 2008

Questions About Facebook Etiquette...

As an avid user (and fascinated observer) of social-networking websites like Facebook and MySpace, I'm constantly trying to figure out what is considered socially acceptable behavior. And I'm definitely not the only one. Most people I talk to are equally clueless, and a number of blogs such as Maz Hardey's "Practising a Proper Social Demeanour: A Guide To Facebook Etiquette" have popped up to give it their best shot.

So here are a few questions I'll pose to the world from a head-scratching participant in the digital New World Order:

  • Is it socially acceptable to refuse friend requests from people we only marginally know? This goes to the issue of why most Facebook users have an absurd number of friends. The Nerfherder Gal, for instance, has 239 "friends", yet can't find anyone to watch "America's Next Top Model" with her (besides me) on any given night.

    But I digress. The practical advice I'm seeking help with deals with this scenario: I recently participated in a small group activity consisting of myself, Joe, and Sam. We all got along, but I would actually go out for drinks at some later point with Sam. Now that the activity's over, and they've both sent me friend requests, would it really be acceptable for me to friend Sam and not Joe?

    Would the smart move be to friend them both, then remove Joe from my friend list shortly thereafter? Or would that be equally offensive, just in a different way?

  • To what extent is it acceptable for a 30-year-old guy to become friends with teenage girls? TO BE VERY CLEAR, I'm not referring to any type of pedophilia or illicit activities of any kind. I raise the question because I'm Facebook friends with my younger teenage cousins, as well as all of the Nerfherder Gal's teenage cousins, which I never gave a second thought about until a co-worker friend of mine recently asked what was up with me having over a dozen teenage girls on my friends list. Perceptions do matter, and no one wants to be "the creepy older guy". But what, if anything, should I do about it?

  • When are we obligated to actually communicate with our friends? Here's something that all of us have experienced: you re-connect with an old friend who you haven't talked to in years, they accept your friend request, then neither of you ever actually writes a message to the other. Can this even be considered "re-connecting"? Now this person's on your friend list but you still haven't spoken in years. Have we made the situation completely awkward, or should we consider it no big deal?

  • When is cyberstalking still considered socially unacceptable? Spending hours looking at pictures of friends (again, very loosely defined) has quickly become a social norm, yet many people's guilty conscience still rears its ugly head once in a while. The question is when? Only you, deep down, can answer this question for yourself. But can we use that inner sense of guilt as a barometer for determining moral behavior?

While I continue to grapple with these questions, one conclusion that I am sure of is this: the limited profile option doesn't solve any of these problems.
  

2 Comments:

At 5:48 PM, Anonymous Nerfherder Gal said...

Just to clarify, Nerfherder gal has plenty of people she could watch America's Next Top Model with, but prefers to watch it with the Nerfherder, and is thrilled to be so sought after and have 239 friends on Facebook!

XO

 
At 5:48 PM, Anonymous Nerfherder Gal said...

Just to clarify, Nerfherder gal has plenty of people she could watch America's Next Top Model with, but prefers to watch it with the Nerfherder, and is thrilled to be so sought after and have 239 friends on Facebook!

XO

 

Post a Comment

<< Home