We received an excellent question from a loyal What’s Up, USANA? reader earlier this year. It’s an important topic and one that applies to anyone who spends any time at all on Facebook, so here are our thoughts in the latest USANA Social Media Tip.
“I’ve noticed I get a lot of friend requests from people I don’t know. I tend to check them out before I add them or ask them how we know each other. How do I ask this without sounding rude?” — Lisa
With the advent of Facebook and other social media, the word “friend” has come to mean more (or less) than it once did. Family, colleagues, friends-of-friends, friends-of-friends-of-friends, mere acquaintances, and others are all now connected to us under the umbrella of “friends” on Facebook.
To Friend or Not to Friend?
The friending waters can be tricky to navigate. Aside from the how-dare-she-didn’t-friend-me social ramifications, accepting certain requests could prove harmful (as outlined in this previous USANA Social Media Tip).
I believe it’s important to actually know — either in real life or through legitimate online communications — your entire Facebook friends list. If a person you don’t know personally requests your friendship (even if he or she has 50 mutual friends), be cautious.
When you receive a friend request you’re unsure of, investigate that person’s profile. This could jog your memory or make it clear that you should stay away! My colleague, Diana, also suggests doing a quick independent search on a site such as Google or LinkedIn to see if the friend request is legit.
Play it Safe
If you’re still unsure, consider messaging that person (depending on privacy settings) for additional details about your connection. Perhaps you met this person at a conference where you networked with dozens of other people and he or she simply slipped your memory. Try something like:
“Hi, thank you for the friend request. I like to develop real connections with my Facebook network. Could you please tell me a little more about yourself?”
If this person really wants your friendship, he or she should be happy to oblige.
Or you could flat-out say:
“It seems every day I read another story about a Facebook hacker. Protecting my social network is important to me. Could you please remind me how we know each other? Thanks!”
If you’re unsure whether you actually know a person who’s requesting your friendship or your gut is telling you something’s fishy, steer clear. Remember: When in doubt, don’t friend. You may also control who’s able to send you friend requests. It’s always a good policy to verify your privacy settings regularly by clicking “Account” in the top right of your profile page and then selecting “Privacy Settings.”
Speaking of “friending,” be judicious with the friend requests you send and try to include a personal message with each one — especially if you just met someone at a conference, event, or other function. That way the person on the other end won’t be left guessing.
How About You?
Have you encountered any “fishy” friend requests or worse, had your account hacked? Please let us know how you handled it.
How are you using social media? If there are topics you’d like discussed in these Social Media Tip posts, feel free to send them our way and we’ll do our best to incorporate them into future posts. Please visit our archive of social media tips.