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Monday, January 11, 2010

Do You Check Out Your Friends?

I'm a bit paranoid when it comes to social networking. Facebook is riddled with viruses and malware, and I'd heard even Livejournal had corrupted a few operating systems recently.

I've never trusted Facebook, especially since that scandal when they said they "owned" your stuff. And while I don't have anything against Livejournal, it's just not professional-looking enough for my needs.

But my biggest peeve with social networks is the software they use to "help" you find your friends. This software goes into YOUR address book and invites whoever is in there. It's supposed to ask you if you want to invite them, but my research shows that's not always the case.I'd rather go friendless than risk receiving a virus or sending out mass invites like a spammer on steroids.

I like Goodreads. I've met a lot of people with similar interests and I've found quite a few new books. And it's not particularly intrusive, though it does use that same software to look at your address book.

To play it safe, I methodically invite people the slow and careful way. If I know them only superficially or through another friend, I make the extra effort to check out their web site to make sure we'd be compatible.

If someone sends an invitation to me, I always research them to make sure they aren't creepy or insincere. I make it a rule not to accept friends just because I'm asked. On Twitter, which I've pretty much abandoned, I have blocked probably a couple dozen people for suspicious behavior.

What looks suspicious?

Clue #1: They follow a lot of 'friends' but no one friends them back.
Clue #2: Their handle or avatar appears pornographic or pedophilic .
Clue #3: They list no web site, group site or affiliations.

I make every effort to know who is friending me and who I friend back. I think it's a respectful thing to do if I want to friend someone, and it's a safe thing to do before I accept an invitation.

Do you check out the people who send you invitations? Or am I being abnormally cautious?


Jannette Johnson said...

I'm on several social sites but I think if you're smart about it you can have a good time.

The three you listed are VERY good and I use that criteria myself. I have a FB account, but that's for keeping in touch with school friends and family and a few writing friends I've met online. They've improved their security, but you hvae to go in and set everything personally. It would be a pain if you're not into micro-managing things, but sometimes that's what you have to do to stay safe.

I have a MySpace and LJ as well, same thing, you just have to be careful. I never let them have access to my address book. None of their business. If I want to find someone, I know their name. :D

Jannette Johnson said...

Forgot to mention that I ALWAYS check out who's friending me.

Maria Zannini said...

Jannette: Just too many creeps out there.

And so many people happily open their 'doors' to them. [shakes head]

Ref: social sites
In theory they're great! But they take too much time that I should be using on writing.

Dru said...

If I don't know you I won't friend you, blindly.

I research everyone before I let them in by checking their website, links and mutual friends.

My FB account is very private.

I like Goodreads but I get more nutso trying to friend me there than on FB though.

You have to be careful.

Have a good Monday.

Sherri said...

I'm on facebook but went kicking and screaming the whole way, LOL. My cousin decided to use FB to organize our reunion so I kinda had to get on there. But I manually set all my settings, didn't allow FB into my email, I have to approve all friend requests, block apps, etc.

I check it out each day but rarely do more than "like" or comment on people's status or links. I do also share some of my blog posts on FB which is more for the family who seem to forget I have a blog, LOL.

Anonymous said...

I've been on Live Journal forever and use it a lot. I have FB and Twitter accounts that I almost never use. They seem content-free to me, compared to a blog.

One of the things I like about LJ is the way commenters can talk directly to one another. I've been on there so long that I have a lot of friends who get to chatting and not just responding to me. I enjoy that.

Maria Zannini said...

Dru: I haven't had too many problems with Goodreads and I actually met some people with similar interests to mine, but I weigh each invitation individually. I've seen too much to follow blindly.

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: I've always seen FB and LJ as a personal network, mostly for friends and family.

I know several of my family use FB for that too. It's a way to keep up with all their schedules. I'm afraid if I add one more friending network, I'll disintegrate. :o)

Sherri said...

And it is the only one I'm going to do too! I don't have the time to keep up with all the networking options out there, LOL, or I'd be disintegrating right along side you!

Maria Zannini said...

Daw: LJ is really geared more for chatty stuff, although I once visited an LJ site for a published author who somehow re-coded her LJ to look more like Blogger and Wordpress. It looked nice and very businesslike.

Maria Zannini said...

Sherri: It's such a time suck. For info, Yahoo groups do a better job keeping me up to date. And for chatty stuff, almost everyone emails me--which I prefer. Some stuff just isn't for public consumption.

Marianne Arkins said...

I'm on FB twice: as me and as ... well... me. One account is totally private and faceless (family and VERY close friends only), the other is for my writing, so I have 700+ "friends". But even so, I avoid the guys who ask to be my friend by have "looking for women" on their page, and aren't authors, too.

AND, I don't post pictures of anyone but me and my pets there. AND, I don't play most of the games and quizzes, etc., which is where most of the nasty stuff lurks.

I still haven't had time to really check out Good Reads.

Maria Zannini said...

Marianne: It kinda surprises me the sort of stuff people share about themselves or their beliefs.

This is what email and phone calls are for.

Marian said...

Facebook scared me a bit when I first signed up - it immediately presented me with some blasts from the past whom I didn't really want to see again. One of them being a guy whom I had a crush on in high school. He knew it and would tease me about it all. the. time.

One good thing about Facebook, though. When I was on my first round of edits, it wasn't easy, partly because I was doing them over the Christmas break and everyone else seemed to be out having fun.

So I kept updating my status to reflect the edits : "Marian is on page 120/344, can she make it before the New Year?" People posted "good luck" messages and it helped a lot, to have that virtual cheering section. :)

Maria Zannini said...

Marian: I notice a lot of people do that with Goodreads. I'm kind of a loner when it comes to writing and editing.

I tend to suffer in silence until I let my crit partners tear me apart. --then I sob loudly. :o)