Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dear Miss Manners

Dear Miss Manners:

I read your column frequently, and have not seen my problem addressed. Once again let me explain.

I neither Face Book nor Tweet.

In my mind I have rationalized my refusal to Book on the following grounds.
a. I'm too old.
b. I have worked hard over the years to edit my friend closet on an as needed basis.
c. Perhaps I am either anti or too social. I haven't decided
d. I'm male, married, and never want to end up on Dr. Phil or in front of the green eyed monster defending my friend list.

However, I'm still have that tinge of sadness whenever I refuse someone's generous proposal to be their friend. Of course I want to be their friend. Just not their Face Book friend.

So Miss Manners, we are all new at this, just what is the netiquette of asking someone to be your friend? How does a gentleman graciously refuse?



ADG said...

Toad...I'll tell you how I did it...I closed my Facebook account. As much as I love the blogosphere, I had to bail out of the online "Friends" venue. Doen't work for me. I use a business networking site for business connections...they aren't friends...they are business connections.

Kathy said...

Dear Mr. Toad,

I'm just curious: does it bother you that complete strangers (such as myself) respond to your blog posts? I enjoy your insights, and I hope my occasional replies aren't intrusive (although it does appear you are inviting such interaction), just as Facebook postings invite similar interaction.


Sartre said...

I think, as ADG implies, you need either to be in or to be out. It's easy to say "I'm not on Facebook" but difficult to refuse someone once you're on.

FWIW, I went with my daughter to a HS orientation last week, and the principal talked about Facebook, of all things. Said her students are spending countless hours to literally no good purpose. Also said 52% of colleges surveyed admit to looking at prospective student's Facebook or mySpace pages...

Katy McIntyre said...

I FB and really enjoy using it to stay connected with friends since I travel so much. I do watch what I post and I will admit that I scope out FB when I am interviewing someone. I have declined "friend requests" though. Some I will send a message to and explain why we can't be "friends" -Others I just ignore. I have had it happen to me as well and don't take it personally. It's just part of what Facebook is. (In my opinion)

kathleen said...

Hilarious, as usual.

Toad said...

Kathy brings a good point, but I believe the circumstances are different. Writing this blog is in fact an invitation to a discussion. I am, as anyone who blogs may be, surprised that anyone reads it and am flattered that some choose to comment.

The difference I believe is that while I welcome your presence, I didn't specifically and personally invite anyone here. You are each here because you choose to be.

My question is and was, once one has elected not to embrace a particular religion,in this case social networking, how do you graciously refuse invitations to join.

I think you are all on the right track. I suspect the real obstacle is the "be my friend" part.

Tammy B said...

I started to Facebook, but I thought I was accepting invitations, when in fact I was inviting. I may give it up. I don't think it is for me. I may leave my account out there and see what happens.

Toad said...

Tammy I would recommend that you try it. It may work for you. Never know until you give it a shot, right?

EatPlayLove said...

very sweet, although I have to tell you Twitter is quite the whirlwind in a good way. You could be pleasantly surprised by the experience.

Toad said...

Denise: you may be right, but you're trying to convert someone who does not have a cell phone, berry, laptop, gps, ipod, iphone, etc, etc etc.

The 21st century is likely to be way more than I can handle.

I still use a fountain pen, for goodness sakes.

Giuseppe said...

Who decided that word "friend" was a verb, anyway?

Kathy said...

I think that on FB, if you ignore or deny a friend request, the requester just doesn't get a confirmation. It would be far more gracious to be able to say "thanks but no thanks." I generally ignore requests from people with whom I have no FB friends in common. I routinely ignore all the extraneous FB hugs, snowballs, kittens, etc. That goes over even MY line of just-too-much.

Rebecca Woodhead said...

Dear Toad,

I don't touch Facebook or Twitter for just this reason. As netiquette is evolving over years, months and hours rather than centuries, I don't think it works as a comprehensive code of behaviour. Really, you just have to go with 'what feels right' and hope for the best.

For my part, on Blogger, I never directly ask anyone to be my friend or follow me. I sometimes ask people to look at my blog but I certainly don't hold them to it and I certainly wouldn't expect them to follow it unless they chose to.

My policy is: if someone asks me to follow them, I stay silent.

If they post it as part of a comment and link to their site, I put up the comment but don't reply. This says 'I appreciate the content of your comment aside from that request and I'm happy for others to visit your blog.'

Real friends are rare. Personally, I feel that if you think you have more than six real friends, at least one of them's lying to you.

I'm not cynical. I'm English.


Rebecca Woodhead said...

I feel I must add a bit to this as many net-years have passed since I wrote it.

I'm now on twitter and have just joined facebook. My plan is to avoid actually using facebook, I just wanted to secure a little plot of land on it. Twitter-wise however I am all turned around.

Love Twitter. Stephen Fry follows me on it so I can now just message him. He gave me some advice on newspaper interviews yesterday. I'm also able to chat to agents and publishers - like they're real actual people. It's lovely. Aside from that I still hold to the idea that you don't ask someone to be your friend/follower. It's just sad. The only time I'd do this would be if someone asked me to direct message them about something on twitter and it couldn't happen because they need to follow you before you can send a direct message.

Friendly wave to Toad

Toad said...

Seems we are on shifting sands here.

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