Friend me, don’t spam me: Facebook & LinkedIn don’t excuse junk

May 15, 2008 by Jared Goralnick

image A couple years ago most people stopped emailing chain letters and jokes. The people I’d fallen out of touch with never sent job listings. But now social networking has brought us a whole new generation of spam.

A word to the wise: just because I accept your friend invitation doesn’t mean that you should bug me with junk you’d never have emailed. Networks may make it easier to message people, but please show a little restraint.

My most recent frustration comes from a Facebook application invitation that went like this:

“So I found a time-wasting app on Facebook that has gotten me addicted. As such I’m harassing each of my friends once to make some extra money. Sorry for any inconvenience, and thanks. :-)”

Sigi wants to buy you as a pet! Find out how much you’re worth and meet pets close to you!

Do I have or care to have any clue about this? Nope. Did he really send this to me and his 554 other “friends”? Yep.

On a near daily basis I also get LinkedIn notifications like “Can you recommend someone for this job: Senior Pastry Chef at ABC Kitchen.” No, I hardly know you and I’m not looking to make my inbox into a job board, thank you very much. If you really thought I could help then send me a real email and personalize a few sentences. No, I don’t know any pastry chefs (well, my grandmother’s not looking).

In response to questioning my friend about wasting my time, he indicated:

I consider getting dozens of often unwanted app invites part of being on Facebook.

No. I consider being courteous and not spamming people part of being a friend.

LinkedIn and Facebook can be really helpful vehicles for re-igniting relationships and keeping in touch, but they shouldn’t be used for mass mailings. People can turn off notifications and block invitations…but if you’re not adding to their lives you’re just taking away their time. So please:

  1. If you wouldn’t email it, don’t send it over a social network
  2. Choose your recipients wisely
  3. If you really want to get people’s attention, make them feel important

When I opt-in to a friendship it isn’t to spam. Am I alone here in wanting our “friends” or “connections” to use a little restraint?

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8 Responses to “Friend me, don’t spam me: Facebook & LinkedIn don’t excuse junk”


  1. Chris Akelian

    I’m totally with you on this one. Fortunately Facebook added a “feature” today that gives you “opt-out capabilities for applications and by sender.”

    But I think you have to receive one first in order to be able to opt out of it.

  2. Jared Goralnick

    I’m more of a fan of blocking applications than individual people or all applications…but you’re right that it’s a step in the right direction. Thanks for the thoughts, Chris : )

  3. Meryl K. Evans

    Several people go nuts on Facebook and add FunWall posts several times a day, but you don’t want to “disconnect” or tell them to cut it out — just one of those things. Well, at least, for us spineless folk.

  4. communicatrix

    Two things:

    1. Facebook. Sigh… (I’ll leave you to decode that one, but as you’re a sharp laddie, I trust you’ll make quick work of it.)

    2. Your grandma is a PASTRY CHEF!?! Dude. Beyond awesome…

  5. @Stephen

    I have to agree with you on this. I thought that Facebook might be a little more fun or useful, but it is just a productivity sink.
    I hardly go on any more and generally ignore all of the requests for “who’s the coolest left-hander” and so on. It has become something awful, when it should have been a little more like Yahoo’s Upcoming. Now that is a pretty cool app. It came in very handy for SOBCon, and clued me in to things that I would have missed otherwise.

  6. Jared Goralnick

    Meryl, I totally hear you. For better or worse I turned off my Facebook wall and blocked the FunWall–it means less interaction, perhaps, but if people really want to reach me there are SOO many other means.

    Communicatrix, hmm…I see so much Facebook hate. I think Facebook itself is great, but where people are taking it or how they’re using it, not so much. Maybe I’ll have to write a post, “Why I don’t hate Facebook” or something. But I hear you, it’s often just a timesuck without much reward, just another input to check. Yeah, we’ll have to chat about growing up with a chef in the family ;-). Not a bad thing, really!

    Stephen, yes, you’re adding fuel to the same flame as Communicatrix–whether or not Facebook really is helpful. I agree that Upcoming is a very focused App that Yahoo has yet to ruin…but one could argue that there are more people creating events on FB than Upcoming in many niches. Again, maybe I’ll have to take this thing head on…

  7. @Stephen

    It’s not about how many people are creating events. It’s about how I can create an event and manage a guest-list without exposing those that I invite to the insipid pokes, invites, and other garbage that is filling up the servers at Facebook.

    If you sign up for Upcoming, you don’t get bothersome emails about anything but the events you are registered for (useful info) or other useful info from others that YOU have invited to contact you.

  8. Jared Goralnick

    Stephen, all very good points. I still think there’s value in facebook, but it doesn’t pass the “do one thing, do it well, and get out of my way test.” Upcoming is much better at that. Thanks again for the discussion!

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