I’ve declined a bunch of Facebook friend requests recently. Perhaps I should explain, in case one of those requests came from you.
I use my Facebook account primarily to promote this blog and the Historic Michigan Road. I don’t post much otherwise; it’s just not that much fun anymore. Anybody who wants to know what I’m up to just needs to read this blog!
Most of my posts are visible to anyone, and I’ve set up my Facebook account so anyone can follow my public posts. If you want to follow me, go to my profile page and click the Follow button. If you send me a friend request and I decline it, Facebook also adds you to my followers list.
Most of my public posts come over automatically from Instagram (follow me here). Sometimes I’ll post a wry status update. That’s 97% of what I post on Facebook.
For all that’s wrong with Facebook, it remains an incredibly efficient way of sharing personal and family news — which is the last 3% of what I post. But that news is often at least semi-private. I limit the visibility of those posts to friends or even sometimes even narrower groups within my friends list. That’s why I limit who I connect with on Facebook.
Here are my loose rules for accepting and declining friend requests:
- I accept friend requests from family.
- I accept friend requests from people in real life whom I consider to be at least an acquaintance.
- I usually accept friend requests from people I’ve interacted with online enough that I feel like I know them on some level and/or are well connected to people I already know, and I judge them to be trustworthy with personal news. I say usually, because if I feel hinky at all, I decline.
- I do not accept friend requests from people who currently report to me at work, and I usually do not accept friend requests from current co-workers. I think it’s wise to keep a boundary with my current workplace.
- I accept friend requests from anyone I worked with earlier in my career at other companies, if I judge them to be trustworthy with personal news.
I’m no celebrity who needs to protect himself from the masses — I’m just a dude in Indiana with odd hobbies and a blog. But I decline four out of five friend requests, and I always wish I could explain when I do it.