My Facebook policy

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.


21 thoughts on “My Facebook policy

  1. I don’t even bother with FB anymore. Their last two blunders were undoing the classic interface, followed by trying to offload an Android version to my Linux machine which effectively stopped their site from being usable in any way. I don’t view it as a great loss as I had only been using messenger to keep in touch with a handful of people anyway.

  2. I was only on Facebook to keep in touch with friends from Ohio State, and it’s changed a lot over the years. The only thing that keeps me there besides my college buddies is all the wonderful groups related to my interests, some of which you might think of joining: Kodak Film Photographers, Pakon F135 Scanner, Nikon F2 Fans, Super 8mm, things like that.

    But I hear you on receiving friend requests from random strangers, because I’m now friends with people from filmmaking groups whom I’ve never met. I only say yes if they’re prominent in the group, are actual working filmmakers who could give me some advice if I need it, and are respected enough by the community to already know others there. There are too many people who just friend people indiscriminately and like you want to keep my circle of friends small and exclusive.

    • I’ve joined a bunch of groups, too, and they make up most of my feed. But I use the groups to promote my blog through sharing my posts.

      I’m not a fan of making online connections randomly. I need to know you somehow, and have some minimum level of trust in you.

  3. P. Daffron says:

    I have read almost everything about you that you have made public… simply because I too am a backroads traveler enjoying the old roads when I can find them. I have shed tears at some of your writings and have laughed like a clown at other things you have written. I may “feel” as if I know you because of this, but I do NOT know you and would never entertain a friend request. In fact, this is the first time I have ever sent you a comment. And I just wanted to say… I salute your ethics!!! And never stop writing. :-)

    • First, thank you for delurking! Second: wow, my archives are pretty deep, I hope you put on your best spelunking gear when you went in! Thanks for reading.

  4. I just recently got back on Facebook after taking a few months off – I’m not sure how long I’ll keep it around. The thing that brought me back is I missed all the cute pictures of my nieces and nephews, which I don’t really get any other way!

    • If sharing my posts around Facebook didn’t drive so much real traffic to this blog I’d check it maybe once a week, for much the same reason: it’s the only way to keep up with some friends and family.

  5. tbm3fan says:

    Personally there are about 15 people who are friends on my account and my info is very limited to them only. I haven’t added anymore in the last 10 years as I don’t want my home page inundated with all kinds of nonsense and I rarely update my stuff for security reasons.

    I do however participate in nine different groups dealing with photography, camera collecting (Minolta, Exakta and vintage), cars (Cougars and F100), and Naval Carriers and Aircraft where I will post photos or information.

  6. I have long used my personal page to promote my blog and that has been the most effective avenue.

    I finally made a page just for my blog and it’s starting out slow but has gained me some new readers.

    • I made a page for my blog when FB stopped letting WordPress automatically post to my personal timeline. I have attracted some new readers through the Page but frankly I’m not all that excited about having to manage it.

      • Lol. I am the social media manager for my company so one more page to manage isn’t bad for me. Also, I’m posting supplementary pictures and stuff just to make it more interesting. It’s a shame they took away that automated tool.

  7. SilverFox says:

    I am a low user of FB for a number of reasons; I came to it late and never really engaged plus the whole groups thing kinda happened without me noticing and by the time I did I was already getting over it. I am there for family and friends really to share family moments which is especially important when I am in the US and my family including my daughter is in the UK.
    So I haven’t tried to friend you Jim though now I am trying to work out if I qualify ;) and I don’t get that many friend requests to worry too much about my rules

    • I’m surprised by the number of friend requests I get. Some weeks it’s 2 or 3. I had to work out “the rules” in my head so each new request wasn’t a new problem to solve.

      • SilverFox says:

        aren’t you Mr. Popular :D You mention forums that you are a member of, I’m interested to know more.. which one’s and why you like them (maybe the subject of a future post)

        • I’m not actually a member of any, but Google searches lead me to them all the time for info, and I see the same names over and over.

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