Sunday, October 19, 2008

People You May Know

All you Facebook users out there are probably familiar with a new feature that Facebook introduced this fall or so called "People You May Know".  Based on your characteristics (and probably mutual friends and stuff) it presents you with the names and pictures of other Facebook users that you might know, in case you want to become friends with them.

I have to say that I actually have found some Facebook friends through People You May Know.  Often people I actually do know will show up in my People You May Know just after they join Facebook.  But, I have a true confession: there are some people on my People You May Know who I "know", but am not friends with.

I think just about everybody has slightly different criteria for how they choose to "make friends" on Facebook with someone.  Just about all of my Facebook friends are people I have some honest-to-goodness real-life connection to, and I have met all but maybe two in person.  And I'm pretty good at finding friends for myself.  Which means that the people who come up for me in People You May Know generally fall into one of three categories:
1. Friends of my friends that I don't know
2. People that went to the same school as I did
3. Brothers and sisters of my friends

So for me, People You May Know is often more like "People You May Know Of".  I might have seen the guy at church, but never talked to him.  Or I might have waved at my friend's little sister one time as I visited their house back in high school.  For me, these aren't quite enough reason to make Facebook friends with someone.

So no offense, but if I haven't actually talked to you before and stuff, and you come up in People You May Know, I'm probably not going to add you, even if I know who you are.  But feel free to add me if you know who I am... mutual recognition is a good enough reason to add. :)

Why does Facebook have People You May Know?  My theory is that Facebook wants people to have more friends, because that will make them more interested in the site, which will make them want to spend more time on the site, which will make them ultimately view more advertising.  So, in an indirect way, People You May Know is good for Facebook's pocketbook.  You can't begrudge them that.


red said...

I don't understand why people add others that they have never met. I'm sure you've had requests of people that may have ONE mutual friend, and to those I say "no thanks." I laugh at the suggested friends that say "They also went to the same school." I'm sorry, with a student body of over 25,000, the likelihood I know them is incredibly slim.

Naomi said...

I would like to make that feature go away.

Anonymous said...

I think Facebook uses the term friends very loosely... yet another stage in the "linguistic development" of this word?
I guess they want to encourage people having friends, sending messages to each other, visiting the web site and click on ads...

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