Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tech etiquette

I HAVE been receiving quite a number of friend requests lately from strangers on Facebook.

The thing about these requests is that people simply do not explain who they are anymore and what their intention is. Okay, maybe the second part is a duh; obviously they want to be your friend.

But come on! It's annoying when I have to MESSAGE THEM, asking if we had ever met and it boils me when they don't reply! A few of these strangers, I found out, had thousands of friends on their Facebook profile.

One particular girl had close to 2,000 friends (a normal person would have between 200 and 500 friends) and was using Facebook for no other reason other than to announce to everyone that she was attending this party and that party, sometimes several parties in a day.

It looked like she was just out to make herself look popular.

Faced with friend requests from strangers, most of us fall into either one of these two categories:

1. People are good by nature. Accept all friend requests.
2. There are people out there who are out to use you. Investigate all friend requests. If you sense something wrong, go with your instincts.

I belong to the second category. Which is why, I am thankful that a friend recently took the trouble to share an article over Facebook headlined 25 Rules of Tech Etiquette from www.switched.com.

Not only did the article confirm what I've been doing is right, it also cautioned me against going overboard with my suspicion.

According to the article, it is perfectly all right to ask strangers to explain themselves politely because you never know if it's a friend of a friend or someone you've forgotten or a potentially lucrative connection.

After all, Facebook was intended for friends to catch up with other friends and perhaps make connections with friends of friends.

Some other enlightening tips from the article:

Q: If someone has gotten creepy on my social network site or IM, how do I get rid of them without feeling like a jerk?
A: In most IM clients and social networking sites, there's an option to ignore certain buddies or friends, discreetly preventing them from contacting you without sending them an official notice that you've dumped them.

Q: What is out-of-bounds when it comes to writing my Facebook status updates?
A: Pretty much anything that could offend. Sure, some of you will say, "Who cares what others think? It's my Facebook page." True, but unlike nasty postings from anonymous cowards, the comments you post online belong to you. Be prepared to pay the price when someone else takes offence and posts your comments for the rest of the world to see.

Q: What's with people who use ellipses ... throughout ... their emails?
A: Either they're high and can't complete a thought or they're under the mistaken impression that it's a legitimate use of punctuation. Ellipses signify a break in a quotation or perhaps a trailing thought for dramatic or comedic impact. Using them after or in the middle of a bunch of sentences is bewildering to read and signifies that the sender is either an ignoramus or is sniffing glue.

Email, instant messaging and handphones have gone mainstream for about 10 years now. Social networking sites have been around for about five years. That's long enough to stop being clumsy with our online communications.