Tuesday, September 01, 2009

You want to be my Friend? Really?

Social Networking is very cool, and I really like Facebook (much easier for me to use than MySpace). It’s kind of addictive and can be a total time-suck, but it’s a great way to stay in touch with readers and other writers.

I have two Facebook profiles – one is the private me, and my “Friends” are mostly family, folks from high school, and other people I know in real life. I have to *know* you – as in you are in the bloodline or were on my Christmas card list at some point in my life in order for me to approve the request. I try to keep that account as far removed from my public account as possible – to the extent that you can’t be riends with both of me. I can get quite Nazi-ish about it. Even my mom had to create a whole new profile if she wanted to see both. (Of course, this also led to me hurt Rhonda Nelson's feelings once... sigh.)

My public Kimberly Lang profile – the one where I use a book cover instead of a picture of myself -- is very public. I don’t put anything on that page that I don’t mind total strangers seeing. (No pictures of AC there.) Anyone can be my friend. I know some folks are just friending me for the sake of friending me, but that’s okay. I don’t mind in the least.

Usually when I get a friend request, Facebook tells me how many friends I have in common with this person. It tends to be a lot – over 100 on average – because if someone has become friends with one author, they’ll usually friend other authors as well. (And other authors friend everyone too, so we always have tons of people in common.) Facebook searches your friends’ friends and makes helpful suggestions about “People You May Know.” So if you’re friends with one of my friends, eventually you’ll see me pop up as a suggestion.

Last week, I got a friend request, and when I went to approve it, I noticed something very strange: we had no friends in common. None. Nada. Zip. I had to go investigate. I figured this person must be new to Facebook and hadn’t had a chance to friend all the Presents authors. Maybe I could suggest a few. Be friendly, you know.

My new friend had one of those names with lots of consonants that Southerners just can’t get their tongues around. We’ll just call him “Z.” Z is in his mid-twenties and lives in Albania. He likes soccer and models and is obviously bi-lingual based on his few wall posts. He has well over 100 friends already – most of whom seem to be from that part of the world (based solely on networks and surnames). So why did he friend me? How did he even find me? I had to look up Albania on a map. (It’s above Greece on the Adriatic Sea, FYI.)

(Remember, my profile is open. He could see who I was before he sent the friend request. I don’t think he could mistake me for another Kimberly Lang. Unless there’s another one writing for Presents…)

So, Z and I are now friends. I’m mystified about why, but we are. A few days later, I get a friend request from another consonant-laden name. We have one mutual friend. I clicked through, and sure enough, our mutual friend was Z. My new friend, we’ll call him “Q,” is also a 20-something male Albanian who likes soccer and models *and* cars (I think. It could be anything since I can’t read Albanian.) So now I’m friends with Q, too, and learning a lot more about Albania.

I got another request two days ago. We have two friends in common. You can figure out the rest.

I’m happy to have FaceBook friends from all around the world. The more the merrier. I’m not complaining. I’m just confused how I ended up on the radar of three 20-something Albanian males who don’t seem to have an interest in romance novels. Can you even get my books in Albania? They don’t seem to be aspiring writers, either.

Of course, then I start getting paranoid. The reasons three 20-something Albanian males would Friend me on Facebook can only be nefarious…

Or not.

They could be fans, you know. Maybe they’re part of a Book Club and my book was the chosen selection and now they’re big fans.

Or not.

They read the blog? Hmmm.

(Guys, if you’re reading this, let me know. I’m curious.)

Are you on Facebook? Who’s the most surprising Friend request you’ve gotten? (On my personal page, a guy I hated in high school – and who hated me – sent a Friend request. No, I’m not over it yet. I carry grudges for a long time.) If you’re not on Facebook, why?

I hope all you Honorary Playfriends will friend me on Facebook!


Kylie Brant joins us tomorrow on the Playground!


Playground Monitor said...

Maybe the Albanian guys are the Facebook equivalent of prison mail. ::grin::

I'm on Facebook and have used it to connect with high school classmates. Our 40th reunion is this fall -- same weekend as our chapter retreat. Guess which one I'm going to?

I can't think of a surprising friend request, but I'm either very surprised or very pleased that both my boys accepted my friend request. I thought they might want to keep their private lives just that, without Mom looking on. ;-)

Jane said...

I'm not on Facebook yet. I've resisted so far, but I think I'm going to cave. One of the reasons I haven't signed up is because I know I'll be spending too much time updating my page.

Linda Winstead Jones said...

I have friends and family and whoever all on one page, and a fan page for writing stuff. Recently I had to unfriend a French actress. I don't speak (or read) French, and she kept inviting me to join stuff. Too many e-mails -- and I couldn't read any of them. I hate to unfriend anyone. It just seems so . . . mean. But I have to manage my facebook time so it doesn't take too much.


Smarty Pants said...

I keep getting requests from local people I don't know. I'm guessing that they're searching women in Huntsville and randomly friending me for a hookup despite the fact that I'm marked as in a relationship and not on FB to troll for sex. I always decline them because its on my personal site.

I'll accept anyone on my writer account, although I will block annoying apps and if you bombard me with crap, will silently drop you from my friend list. Some woman I don't know invited me to 4 different groups yesterday so... adios amiga.

The trouble I run into is cross account contaimination. I'm not as strict about my account lines - some people are friends and writers - and then I get more requests on the wrong account. I feel bad, but I have to decline, then send them a friend request from the right account. Don't be insulted if I do this! Just trying to keep some order in my life.

jennifer said...

yeah i'm so addictted 2 facebook n myspace which means when i get 2 the computer i get a whole lot of nothing done. there should b a waring sign about how much time you'll waste before u join lol

Chels said...

I often wonder why people I never talked to in high school or college request to be my friend - it's not like we're going to pick up where we left off.

Here is an interesting article on Parental Faux Pas on Facebook


Angel said...

I had no plans of getting a Facebook account, until all the Playfriends showed up there. Now I find I'm a bit addicted to it. :) I don't do much on it, but I read my news feed at least twice a day. Okay, so maybe I'm not as addicted as some people...


Lynn Raye Harris said...

I am a Twitter ho. Much prefer it to Facebook, though of course I'm on FB too. And I friend anyone because it's my author profile.

I can't say I've gotten any really odd ones. I have heard from people who I went to college with -- and my 8th grade best friend -- which is cool.

I hate the apps on FB, and I hate when someone sends me endless junk -- invitations, fan requests, etc. I think fan requests are the height of delusional fantasies -- unless one would genuinely HAVE fans (like LJ!).

Playground Monitor said...

For the record I've never posted “Mom just joined ‘Friends of Barry Manilow’”. I like Barry Manilow but I wasn't aware he had a FB fan site. ;-)

Linda Winstead Jones said...

I have a fan page, but I've never sent out a fan request. I figure if anyone wants to be there, they'll find their own way. :-)

Problem Child said...

Cave, Jane, cave! Think of the hours you can waste...

I'm one of Maven LJ's fans :-) But no, I don't have a fan page. It would depress me to have no fans.

jennifer -- it's funny how quickly it can take over your life, isn't it?

No, Lynn, I will not follow you on Twitter. If you want to tell me something, then email me. You will not suck me into Twitter. I'm holding strong. But you can keep me up to date on whatever else is being Tweeted... :-)

And, Chels, I completely agree. I think a lot of folks just friend everyone they ever passed in the hallway in high school.

Instigator said...

I am addicted to my facebook zoo. I know it's stupid to worry about the animals I'm breeding but...I can't stop myself from checking on their progress repeatedly. I do enjoy being able to keep track of all my peeps.


Rhonda Nelson said...

Yes, I did wonder why you wouldn't be my facebook friend when we are in fact actual *friends.* But once is was explained to me, I was mollified. :-)

I love facebook and, though I have two accounts, I only use the one. Unfortunately that means that I've friended oodles of people who I don't know and my family. Because I'd like to post some pictures of my kids, I went through and un-friended all of the men I didn't know--sorry, men!--and interestingly enough, they are all trying to re-friend. (I got a request from the Albanians, too.) My facebook worlds have collided and at this point I have no way of really sorting it out. Luckily, I can hide my albums from people who aren't in my region, so that will help.

Problem Child said...

And let me guess Rhonda, you and the Albanians had a friend in common -- me :-)

Word verif: nones (the number of people I actually know in Albania)

Lynn Raye Harris said...

I'm LJ's fan too! Because she legitimately has fans! But some of the people who send those requests? I don't even know them, never heard of them, etc! It's weird.

Your loss on Twitter, PC. I looove Twitter. :)

Liza said...

I'm on facebook and tend to spend way too much time on it each day. I've found lots of my high school friends on facebook. In fact, I had a number of them ask me if I was in the publishing business since I have so many published authors as friends. I also recently joined twitter, so I have a whole new reason to spend hours on the computer.

Christine said...

I don't know how to create a separate FB account. I have my normal account, created BEFORE all the author stuff, and now I am a hybrid with privacy settings. My kid, her friends, my in-laws (most of whom I block from mucho info) and friends and family I love are on it.......

Now what? I guess I wait till I am a real published author and work it out at that point.