Imaginary Facebook Friends

I know Steve's blogged a bit about Facebook recently but this story about how willing Facebook users are to add "friends" they don't know really made me sit up and take notice. 43% of the sample accepted a friends request from someone they didn't know and 41% divulged some level of personal information.

So if you send me a friend request on Facebook and I don't know you personally, you'll understand if I don't accept.

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Comments (10)
  1. blowdart says:

    It’s the same with Twitter of course; people want to build their "friends" list.

    Interestingly linked-in seems to be more "professional" about it, every now and again I get an obvious "I don’t know you" request (in fact I got one this morning from "an ex-colleague at Nortel", errr, I never worked for Nortel).

    Mind you it’s the adding of imaginary girlfriends that would worry me ….

  2. Craig Murphy says:

    Good link, interesting read.  I agree with Barry’s comment re: Twitter.  If Facebook and Twitter users are gathering so-called friends with such gay abandon, one must question their motives.  Either they are in search of the inevitable yet unsuspecting user who has provided more personal information than they should have, such that ID theft is their next problem, or having a large number of friends is good for advertising.  

    Certainly this is something that has not gone unnoticed by Robert Scoble (despite recent threads about Scoble’s Facebook feed essentially taking over your Facebook feed!)  He notes that he has a shade under 5000 Facebook friends, many of whom are influencers who would probably respond well to careful advertising.  Can you blame him or anybody else for that matter were they to inject the odd advert into their activity feeds?  Good advertising isn’t intrusive, if this is understood, I guess I wouldn’t have a problem with adverts…

    It’s only a matter of time before we start to see mainstream adverts appearing over at Facebook, more so than the odd one that appears now.  It’s a problem that must be affecting other social networking sites too (my research so far is limited to LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter).

  3. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    That said, I understand they’re easier to get along with on a long-term basis… 🙂

  4. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    Craig you got in there while I was writing my comment on Barry’s post. As a result my comment looks completely random. 🙂

    I think the concept of marketing via Facebook is an interesting one. And I wholeheatedly agree that marketing, when targetted and relevant isn’t intrusive and is usually quite interesting. To the extent that we often don’t even class it in the advertising / marketing category, only attaching that label to the "bad" stuff.

    A bigger problem I think people are wrestling with is the sheer number of different "communication services". Once upon a time email was the "problem". Now we have blogs, feeds, Facebook, LinkedIn, IM, Twitter and a hundred other things to contend with. I certainly can’t cope with them all and don’t attempt to. But I am plagued by a sense of "what am I missing out on". 🙂

  5. blowdart says:

    Of course Craig is on my twitter. And my MSN. And my network on LinkedIn. Facebook I refuse to join.

    The question is really is Craig imaginary? If so what foetid mind would think of that? And why aren’t you on our networks on LinkedIn? Why don’t you like us? Why? Why?

  6. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    I do not "get" twitter at all. Not one little bit (I have to draw the line somewhere). My LinkedIn "maintenance" is also somewhat cursory so I’ve not done an exhaustive "harvesting exercise".

    Oh, and I like everyone. Pretty much.

  7. Craig Murphy says:

    I didn’t mean to jump in and wreck the imaginary girlfriends thing, honest!  I saw it after if hit submit..and did wonder, but only for a second!

    I totally agree with you, and I think Barry will to, that the profusion of social networking sites and communication mechanisms that we have to "check" is getting out of hand…I have a blog post in production about this…we need some decent aggregation mechanism for "all of this stuff".  

    I’m getting my mileage out of Facebook, though.  It has put me in touch with extended family that I would only usually see 1-2 times per year.  Now I’m able to watch what they’re up to as and when I login to Facebook.  Ditto for some tech folks and devs, including a few in Microsoft.  I think the photograph when not faked ( and helps a lot – it makes the Facebook message that bit more personal, it’s not just a "newbie" e-mailing in…here’s a message with a profile attached.

    Twitter – I didn’t get it when I signed up back in early March.  I’ve been using it in anger for 10 or days now, it’s worth running with it for a while to try it, Mike, honest.  It seems to bring together a "live community" feel – everybody who you’re following gets to share your experiences and your pain if you so wish.  It opened my eyes this week, instead of communicating with folks on an infrequent basis, I can see what they’re up to throughout the day…and comment upon it too.  Give it ago, if only for a short while!

  8. Ian Cooper says:

    I can’t see why anyone would want the level of detail about me that Twitter provides, unless they were also the kind of person likely to boil my bunny rabbit on the stove,and frankly I try to avoid those kind of people.

    Maybe I’m just too old to get it.

  9. MikeO [MSFT] says:

    I’m with you Ian. I had a browser yesterday and what struck me was why people would take time to enter such mundane information about their lives. "I’m watching such and such on TV" or "I’m wearing a skirt for the first time in years" (a subject close to my heart as I somehow have to fit in my kilt in about 7 weeks time :-)).

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