never de-friend anyone on facebook

Facebook and Relatives

I just read an interesting piece titled, “Do Kids have to Add Grandma and Uncle Joe to Their Facebook Page?” Here’s the link if you’d like to read the entire piece. I thought it was interesting because it made me start to second guess my own friend list.

First, I actually have two facebook pages. One for family and social friends, another for work related, publishing related posts where I socialize with other authors, readers, and anyone interested in publishing news. To be honest, my family page suffers. I rarely post anything, don’t have any photos there, and often have to force myself to check it. And that’s because I’m usually having too much fun on my work page, interacting with readers and other authors.

I usually make it known to friends and family, in a polite way, that I don’t add them to my professional facebook page because I don’t think they’d be interested in my posts. It’s not because I’m gay and I write m/m romance. I use my real name on both professional and work; I couldn’t care less what they think. But I don’t want them to think I’m trying to get them to buy my books, and I know for a fact there’s nothing about publishing they would be interested in.

But this article I just read discusses family members interacting with each other on facebook. Are teenagers obligated to “friend” their uncles, aunts and grandparents? According to this piece, the mother of the teenagers thinks the only reason the aunts and uncles are interested in “friending” her kids on facebook is to find out personal information about them and gossip. I never thought about it this way. I have two nephews on facebook and I never looked at it that way. I simply always thought of it as a way to communicate with them because they live a distance and I don’t see them that often.

On the other hand, I have a friend with a large family. And there have actually been blow ups about what family members have written on facebook. One aunt thought her niece was giving out too much information, and when she mentioned this at Thanksgiving last year, the entire family went after her for getting into territory that’s none of her business. Unfortunately, it turned out the aunt was right, when her sixteen year old niece ran off with a twenty-eight year old guy she’d met on facebook.

Personally, I don’t think people care all that much about who accepts friend requests and who doesn’t. But I do know this much. If you have accepted a friend request from a family member and you decide to “de-friend” them, you’d better come up with a good excuse, because you’re going to piss someone off royally. And the same applies to anyone on a facebook friend list. People don’t seem to care about whether or not you accept them; just don’t “de-friend” them without a good reason. I did it once by mistake, when I was creating another account for just family and close friends. I accidentally “defriended” an author, and he let me know about it. And when I tried to explain, I don’t think he believed me.

In this world of ever changing social networks and trends, I think this particular piece I read tonight hits home for a lot of people. I just hope none of my nephews, nieces, or family members think I’m trying to spy on them for gossip when all I’m trying to do is keep in touch because I care about what’s going on in their lives.