Author John U. Bacon had 2,014 Facebook friends in mid-October–and some 600 “pending requests,” most of them from people he doesn’t know. Suspecting that “some just want to get access to the better-known people on my list,” he accepts friend requests only from people he actually knows and likes.
Bacon admits he signed up for Facebook because his publisher pressured him to promote his books there. But now, he says, he checks in several times a day, “to see what my friends are up to. Count me a reluctant starter turned fervent convert.”
Ken Fischer, the highly social director of the University Musical Society, has 2,764 friends–and says that he’s actually met about two-thirds of them. But Fischer, too, doesn’t accept friend requests indiscriminately. He recently turned someone down even though they had seven Facebook friends in common. The man sent “no private message,” Fischer explains by email, and “his FB info is so protected at this point that I can’t project why he’d like to make a connection with me. This kind of situation happens frequently.”
Sunny-voiced radio personality Lucy Ann Lance topped our unscientific survey: she was closing in on 2,900 friends as we went to press. “I receive anywhere from five to twenty new friend requests every day,” she emails. If there’s nothing on their pages to suggest they’re spammers, she’ll probably click her acceptance.
“The ongoing community conversation on social media is fascinating to me,” Lance explains. “If people don’t find value in social media interactions, they should examine how they are using it. My mom always told me you have to bring something to the party.”