Friday, July 17, 2009

Who Do You Follow? Who Do You 'Friend'?

and other mysteries ...

Yesterday my Facebook page offered a Friend suggestion that startled me. The name was familiar -- the husband of someone I know fairly well who is about a half-generation older than me. And, BTW, I am old!! Particularly around Facebook and Twitter.

So some ol' guy had joined Facebook.

But how the hell did Facebook have a clue we might know each other? If you have mutual FB Friends, they tell you that right away -- and we didn't. If you went to the same high school or college, particular about the same time (and your profile says so), FB knows. And they tell you THAT.

But -- I'll call him Chet -- Chet and I didn't.

In fact, I couldn't think of anything we had in common that would be captured in a FB profile.

I am fast to accept FB Friend requests from people whose names I recognize -- a little slower to accept from names I don't know but sometimes I even accept those. But I am really slow to REQUEST a Friend unless I do actually know the person in real life at least well enough to think the person will remember how we know each other, that we know each other.

I don't, for example, ask my cousins' kids to be my Facebook friends if the last time I saw the cousin was 42 years ago and I've never met the kid!

I wasn't so sure that Chet would recognize me. Or wish to be my FB Friend.

But I had to know how FB made the connection. Was it simply that we were both in the Chicago network? That's a stretch. Of course, sometimes I think that is enough of a connection for Facebook to take a stab at it.

So, I requested Chet's FB Friendship, reminding him of how we know each other. He accepted. And I got to look at his Facebook page and profile.


The email address he listed for Facebook is shared with his wife and appears in my email contact list.

But there is something spooky about that. A long time ago when I joined Facebook, I did allow Facebook to search my email contact list for matches.

But it only now occurs to me FB retained that info and is using it. Yikes!

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