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August 23, 2011

Please Don't Expect to be My Friend if You Won't Tell me Your Name!

One of my pet peeves is when someone on Facebook sends a friend request but they are using a pseudonym (usually something like "GraveSeeker" or "GenieGal" or....) and I have no idea who they are. 

They could send a personal message at the same time as the friend request, something along the lines of "Hey Lorine we met at the Genealogy Conference in Boston. I'm Janis of AncestorsRUs" or "Hi Lorine, we've never met but I'm the webmaster on AncestorsRUs website"  But they don't.

So off I go to GraveSeeker or GenieGal's Profile page, only to find that's no help either. They have no identifying information on their profile page, no indication of who they really are, what their interests are or how they know me. 

It truly puzzles me. But an interesting thing happened recently on Facebook. I got one of those anonymous friend requests. Facebook kindly informed me we had 57 mutual friends. A look showed me that they were genealogy people I know and who my anonymous requester was also friends with.

So I asked around - who is this person? And guess what - no one I asked had a clue who she/he was! It seems everyone I asked was accepting his/her friend request based on the fact that so many other friends were accepting. Now maybe someone in that friend list knows who this person really is. But why is GraveSeeker (or GenieGal or whover) making us work that hard to find out?

I dunno, maybe it's just me but I feel uneasy about letting a complete stranger who won't even use his/her real name see my personal family photos or read my status updates and have a glimpse into my life.

Sorry Ms./Mr. Anonymous but I won't be accepting that friend request.


Kerry Scott said...

I think I know the one you're referring to. I'm not too thrilled when I get those either.

That said, I get a ton of requests from people I don't know. I put them into a group that can't see much personal stuff until I get to know them. People I've met in real life or otherwise feel I know well enough to be comfortable with can see pictures of my kids, etc. (although I really don't post a lot of that sort of thing anymore).

I get that people are a little paranoid about privacy things, but using fake names (or fake profile pictures, which is another one I don't love) isn't the answer.

Patti said...

I am extremely guarded with my FB account. I have only 75 friends, and my account is set so that only "friends of friends" can find me or friend request me. This way, I actually KNOW my FB friends.

What I've discovered, though, is that many of my friends have HUNDREDS of friends. It's sort of like a popularity contest, you know, just amassing a huge number of friends. One of my FB friends in particular (who uses a fake name and a celebrity photo) friend requested one of my other friends...a girl she has never had any contact with. And that friend accepted her based on the fact that she was my friend, but she had never interacted with her before.

I follow your page on FB, but that didn't require sending a friend request.

Have a great day!!

John said...

When someone with a clear interest in genealogy asks to be my friend on Facebook I add them to my genealogy list. And I share my genealogy related posts with that list.

Facebook uses the word 'friends' but if you use their 'friend lists' and control what you share with who, it really doesn't matter much if you don't know them. Even those who use their name - or tell me their blogname - I don't know them. I can't think of a single person in the genealogy web-blogging community I have actually met in person yet.

The Grandmother Here said...

Whoa! Is it a coincidence or was my facebook friend request the straw that broke the camel's back? I explained who I was. I didn't mean to make trouble.

Shelley said...

I have kept Facebook (almost) exclusively for people I know in real life. It has become more difficult over time as there are some people who are social obligations eg husband's cousins he knows well but I haven't met and others I might like to have on there such as other researchers I have corresponded with extensively by email but don't know in person. I see Facebook's blog today is talking about a lot of changes to make sharing with different groups of people easier and clearer. Sounds good. Thank you Google+!!

Genealogy Blogger said...

Diana - it wasn't you :-) I didn't know who you were at first but now I do (saw your note) and I accepted!

But you weren't the straw. It was someone else.

Genealogy Blogger said...

Kerry- agree with you but I prefer Google+ for grouping, it's so easy and fast.

Absolutely agree that fake names are not the answer!

Genealogy Blogger said...

Patti, you're right. It does sometimes seem like a game of numbers - who has the most :-(

Genealogy Blogger said...

John, I guess I'm lucky because I've actually met quite a few of my Facebook Genealogy friends who I didn't know when I linked to them.

But it's really about the ones who hide behind a phony name that get to me. I don't have to know someone to add them to my friends list but I have to know something ABOUT them!

Genealogy Blogger said...

Shelley I've been thinking along those lines too. Toying with the idea of Facebook for friends and family (real friends) and Google+ for less personal interactions

Greta Koehl said...

Even some of the people with what looks like a "real" name can be phonies - I believe some guy a while back was friending lots of genealogy people - turns out he just wanted spam targets. I look at several things: real name, what appears to be a genuine interest in genealogy, and doesn't have a bazillion friends.

Jenny Lanctot said...

Your post made me think ... gosh, I have 248 friends. How many of those are people I don't really know? I'm glad (and surprised) to say that there are probably less than 8 people on that list whom I have never met in person (and they are SecondLife genealogy friends). The rest, believe it or not, are family or high school, college, or work friends.

When I stopped playing games on FB, I went through and deleted all the people I added as neighbors because I had no idea who they were and I was tired of them crapping up my wall with their nonsense. Most of those were fake-name people too.

I do agree that the Google+ circles are a lot easier to deal with though.

Kathleen Brandt, Professional Genealogist said...

Probably guilty! Kathleen Brandt = a3Genealogy