Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Facebook Rantini*

First, I dug through my blog list and I cannot remember where I just read the term rantini. Basically it's a mini rant, something small you need to get off your chest but really won't affect anything important in your day. I wanted to give credit where credit is due, but I can't find you. If this is from your blog, let me know and I'll put in a link.

UPDATE: It was Amy Nathan! Thanks, Spy, for reminding me.

Now, on to my rantini.

I've been on Facebook since July and I love love love it. I've found a ton of old friends, made a few new ones, and spend countless hours playing word games. I love word games.

But. It seems to me that basic courtesy is lost on some people. Maybe they aren't socially skilled, maybe they think the internet eliminates the need for basic manners, or they just think I want 10,000 friends. I don't. At least once a week I get a friend request from someone I've never met, never talked to, never noticed on a friend's page. They don't include an introduction, they just click "Add a Friend" and wait for the magic to happen. I don't think so.

Occasionally I add the person if I see we have 20 friends in common from Absolute Write, but not always. A few weeks ago I actually sent a note to the person asking how I knew her because while we only had two mutual friends, she's from my hometown. Could be a coincidence. She wrote back saying she saw me through a friend of a friend. No further explanation, nothing friendly.

Now you're probably thinking, well duh, that's a no-brainer. Deny! Yet it still took me a couple more days to actually click "Ignore." I felt guilty afterwards, but haven't lost any sleep over it.

Yesterday I received another of these invites. No explanation of where we may know each other from, just a couple mutual friends. The invite is sitting in my requests folder, taunting me. I hate that I'm so nice and always consider everyone's feelings before doing anything. They didn't consider mine, so why should it matter?

Here's the part that kills me: would you go up to a stranger at a bookstore or mall and invite them to dinner? Or to your house to see your family photos? Or to eavesdrop on conversations with your real friends? Of course not. So why do people think it's ok to be so rude online?

I guess I've answered my question what to do here.

I will say this, one person I friended that I didn't know - Aerin - did it the right way. She said where we knew each other from and asked if we could be friends. Probably took her two seconds to write that but I clicked "Accept" without hesitation. (Maybe I should reevaluate that quick impulse, but in this case it worked out fine.)

You've probably guessed how I behave when sending friend requests, and it's worse than you think. Unless I'm 1000% certain the person knows me, I ALWAYS say where we know each other from - something that seemed more important before I added my maiden name to my ID. I friended a cousin a couple days ago that is only nineteen - we've only seen each other a handful of times in my life and I wasn't completely sure he'd recognize my name so I ALMOST said "hey, it's your cousin!" I didn't because I figured he'd think I'm crazy, but that's the ONLY reason. Yes, overkill, I know.

I think I'm going to pare down my friend list today...



Aerin said...

I love the word rantini!

And I was holding my breath reading the first part of your post, since I had done that exact thing - but, hey, then I got a lovely call-out! Nice!

Do you know you can create limited profiles? With people who have dubious connections (ppl w/ whom I attended high school but never actually spoke to me), I just accept and put them on the limited list - which I keep very limited. I figure the connections might work someday, or at least an author fanbase :D

Still, there are folks I delete if their feeds or whatever start getting worrisome. Do what your gut tells you! (There are as many nerve endings in your gut as in your brain which is why it's called a gut feeling and why zoloft is sometimes prescribed simply for upset stomach. Don't I know fun random stuff?)

Melanie Avila said...

Aerin, I'm sorry I worried you. I should have put that first!

How can you do the limited thing? There are a handful of people I'd like to do that with. They aren't bad people, just not anyone I talk to, you know?

That's funny about Zoloft!

spyscribbler said...

Amy Sue Nathan. I LOVED the word "Rantini!" It's AWESOME. I've been meaning to use it. I guarantee that word is going to catch like wildfire!

I hate when people make an "event" of every single blog post or something. They have an "event" every day! I hit "ignore all events."

Allen said...

"Here's the part that kills me: would you go up to a stranger at a bookstore or mall and invite them to dinner?"

Actually I have. Sometimes it works out. Others don't. It is a gamble.

But, my wife says I could have a conversation with a lamp post.

note to self: retrieve friends request for Melanie. :-)

Melanie Avila said...

Spy, thanks! I updated the post.

I have a couple people who send me five invites a day (not exaggerating) and another who updates her fricking Twitter every ten minutes. I DON'T CARE THAT YOU FOUND AN INTERESTING WHATEVER ONLINE! I've been tempted to unfriend that person just so I don't have to read about the next thing she checked off her to-do list.

Melanie Avila said...

Allen, lol. I would too, that's why I added the additional things about the pictures. :) And I think I already friended you, no?

Penguin said...

And people ask me why I don't do facebook and all that crap.

These are the reasons.

I have plenty of friends, I don't need any more.
I get along just fine with the four I have, ok maybe more like 10.

Melanie Avila said...

Dork. :) Kidding. Sort of.

Turkey Lurkey said...

I left a comment on your FB page. :)

Melanie Avila said...

I saw that. I'm tempted to repost it here because you made a wonderful analogy.

WendyCinNYC said...

"another who updates her fricking Twitter every ten minutes. I DON'T CARE THAT YOU FOUND AN INTERESTING WHATEVER ONLINE!"

Oh my god, yes. This is the main reason I stopped using Twitter. Too much crap about yummy lunches and cold mornings and hey I just updated my blogs.

And it's not like I had anything more interesting to tweet, either!

Melanie Avila said...

Wendy, that's why I haven't joined. I struggle coming up with facebook status updates.

Janna Qualman said...

I feel much the same you do! I also regret "ignoring" a friend request, but sometimes it has to be done.

I got a request over the weekend from someone who said something like, "We're part of the same [facebook] group and I have a fan page. Would you be okay to accept my friend request?" We had ONE friend in common, someone I know and lurve and trust, but that didn't make it okay for me to click "accept." Actually... come to think of it... the request is still in my inbox, waiting for my decision...

You and me, we're like twinkies or somethin'.

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, my request is still sitting there too. Sometimes I'll wait and see if more of my friends connect with the person before making a decision. In this case, no one has.

I also unfriended the person I mentioned who Twitters a lot because I realized she could read my note on FB since my blog posts there too. D'oh. I don't want to hurt her feelings.

Pink Ink said...

I don't FB, and probably never will. No time enough as it is blogging. :-)

I am leery adding people on sites like Goodreads or MyBlogLog because to me it would be ruder to take them off the list if I discover I really shouldn't have added them in the first place. I take the cowardly way out and just let requests float in limbo, instead of saying no.

You have a good criteria, it seems.

Melanie Avila said...

Pink, that's a good point about deleting blogs. I cleaned up my list sometime during the fall and only deleted people who hadn't posted in months. A couple friends were included in that list, but no one seemed upset by it - or if they were, they didn't say anything.

I usually wait to add someone until I know I like their blog, so that helps avoid that situation too.

Amy Nathan said...

LOL! Rantini! I knew it would catch on. But I must admit that it was my BFF who made it up, but she doesn't blog!!

YAY for Rantini's. And, I'm constantly having Facebook Rantini's. I love my FB friends but I do not like the requests, drinks, snowballs or invitations. I ignore THEM ALL.

I know, I know.

Melanie Avila said...

Amy, your friend is a genius!

I ignore pretty much everything in FB too. Occasionally I get sucked in to a new thing, but then I quickly lose interest.

Zoe Winters said...

Rantini sounds like a drink to me. It should be pink with an umbrella. Or maybe I'm thinking of an appletini.


I always accept friend requests, but that's because my facebook is there as another promo tool for my writing. So if some random person I don't know friends me, they don't have to give me an explanation for it, anymore than I had to give Charlaine Harris an explanation when I friended her, lol.

Though I will say what annoys me on facebook: When people send CONSTANT promo emails. I'm talking several every week. It seems so inconsiderate. Like do they think I do nothing but sit around all day WAITING to buy everything they're hawking?

Though this is probably a little hypocritical right now, since this week I've been in direct promo overload for the short story semi-finals. But you know, I never do this, and it's ONE freaking week of this kind of nonsense, and the grand prize is $3,000. I feel like I HAVE to push for it.

But these folks who don't have a 1 week deadline for a contest who just constantly advertise at me, it just gets old.

Melanie Avila said...

Zoe, I don't think you abuse it. You made it clear from the start what you're hoping to get from the network, so anyone who friended you knew that.

I agree that a constant barrage is too much.