It may seem strange to have a Facebook policy, but Facebook, like other social web sites, can be tremendously demanding and time consuming.
All sorts of people want to be “friends”, and Facebook “friendship” is often different from friendship in real life. So here is my policy on who I will be friends with on Facebook.
- People I have met in real life. That is, people I have met and actually talked to, face-to-face.
- Family. People who are related to me or to my wife, even if I haven’t met them. It doesn’t matter if you are a 6th cousin twice removed, if you’re family, then I’m happy to get in touch and keep in touch via Facebook.
- E-friends and colleagues. That is, people whom I may not have met face to face, but with whom I’ve had significant interaction on line. By “significant interaction” I mean discussions in electronic mailing lists and newsgroups, or people who regularly read my blog posts and comment on them.
If you don’t fall into any of those categories, you can always “follow” me on Facebook. There’s nothing wrong with that.
But you could also join Category 3 by participating in one or more mailing lists that I belong to and entering into some discussions there. You can find a list of such mailing lists here — take your pick.
Please don’t send me messages on Facebook — use e-mail instead.
E-mail is simpler, better, faster, as one of our banks used to say.
If you want to communicate with me privately, then send a message with your e-mail address, and I’ll get back to you. Of you can see my e-mail address in my Facebook profile — if Facebook hasn’t removed it (yes, the people at Facebook have been known to change people’s e-mail addresses in their profiles without their knowledge or consent).
I do not want yet another thing to ring my phone in the middle of the night or when I’m driving on the freeway, or at other inconvenient times.