I have been a Facebook slut from the beginning. I will invite anyone to be my friend, and I will accept anyone else's invitation to do the same. But is this lack of selection standards the behavior I should employ? If not, then I am somewhat confused about who to ask to be, or allow to be, my friends in the social networking world. I'm a liberal and an atheist and an avid environmentalist, but there are lots of FB members who are conservatives and religious and who think that climate change is a left-wing conspiracy. There are those who want to play silly games with farm animals and send flowers around and ask for help with the Mafia, and I'm not into any of that.
There are young women with very provocative profile photos, and older women who are not so provocative, and balding men with white beards who look all-knowing. There are CEOs and television personalities and publishers and lots of students. I just spent the last 40 years of my life with students; do I need to continue? After all, the only thing students want from me is another letter of recommendation. There are people who only lurk, and there are those who want to sell me their herbal medicine or belly-dancing attire or 3-bedroom house on a cul-de-sac. Others are trying to sell me that Obama is a Marxist, or a Muslim, or a Mouseketeer. (I learned that literary technique in 9th grade English class. Notice the three "Ms". But I couldn't think of a third one, so I used Mouseketeer.)
Should I avoid members who are not like me, and surround myself with like-minded thinkers? Or, should I embrace the differences and pursue those "others" so I have the chance to influence their thinking? You know, keep your liberals close and your conservatives closer. But to be perfectly honest, I am trying to make lots of friends, some of whom will become regular readers here.
So I guess I don't really care what my FB friends' beliefs or politics are as long as I think they might be attracted to DrTom's blog. Here is the strategy I am using currently to befriend FB members. I invite the following categories of people to be friends:
1. Anyone who is baby boomer age. Check profile photos for elderly-looking men and women, and those who think they are hiding out as a 52-year old. I figure this demographic could relate to my perspectives better than, say, a 25-year old who thinks that "Vietnamese" is just the word on a marquee for any non-Chinese Asian restaurant.
2. Anyone who looks like they enjoy the out-of-doors, nature, hiking, gardening, etc. Check profile photos for dirty hands, tears in clothing, Columbia Sportswear jackets, people on horseback, those with a dog, snow-capped mountain in background.
3. Older, white men in the publishing or media business. I need a break and these guys have the power to make the big decisions in these industries, and to make contact with other media moguls, and they probably know lots of other older, white guys.
4. Jewish people. One of my blogs was about preparing for my first Rosh Hashanah at age 62. That should endear that demographic to my site.
5. People who look like they like to read stuff. This is a tough one, but they probably wear glasses, have wrinkles in their forehead, and they just plain look intelligent.
6. Anyone holding a cigar in their profile.
7. Really sexy young girls. Because they attract more of all of the above to my FB page, and a certain percentage of these attractants might visit DrTom's blog.
Given that FB has a 5,000-friend limit, I need to be somewhat selective about who I invite. For example, I could fill my quota just with "really sexy young girls" if I wanted. There are so many of those. (Hey, what's up with that anyway? Do these girls wearing very little and posing so provocatively think they will be discovered by MGM, or that they will win an appearance in a music video or a reality show? Or, are they just looking to hook up with the "older, white guy" category?) Man, there is a lot going on in the FB world, and I don't grasp the half of it. I just want a little of their time, and a click or two. I need to buy a Whopper at Burger King's for my wife.