A New Meeting Place
  • Maggie Franklin
  • March 20, 2013
I talk about Facebook a lot. But only because Facebook has become so bloated that it now reaches into so many of our lives — and businesses.
 
Aside from recent changes that will concern users financially — the buzz I’ve been seeing is all about getting blocked from making new friend requests. In case you’ve managed to escape the claws of Facebook thus far, now every friend request you receive is accompanied by an inquest as to whether or not you know that person outside of FB. Say “no” and that person gets the smack down for spamming and FB puts them in the penalty box for a time-out. Not only can you get temporarily banned from sending new friend requests, but if you send a request that doesn’t get answered for an unusually long time, you face the same fate.
 
Essentially, FB now reserves the right to punish you for sending a friend request to someone who’s on vacation, has abandoned their profile, or is in a coma in the hospital. And, since I am one of those people who ignores most of the friend requests I receive for vast amounts of time, FB’s new rules about unanswered friend requests makes me part of their problem. Thanks, Facebook.
 
But, this post isn’t really all about Facebook, it’s about my wondering if the social networking giant is overestimating how important they are to their users? Will these new policies that are actually counter intuitive to social networking send the users like nail techs — people who actually use the site for networking within a profession or interest — back to the forums we used to frequent?
 
I think FB took so many of us away from other forums because it imposed fewer rules on our interaction and discussions. It provided us the difference between having an open discussion in a classroom setting, with clearly defined boundaries on what could be discussed and how, versus that same group meeting on our own time in a bar, where the same subjects could be discussed uncensored.
 
But if that bar or backyard suddenly starts charging a cover fee or starts restricting the number of people who can join our discussion, will that send us back to the classrooms?
 
I am interested in seeing how my Internet networking goes for the next few months. I just hope that if everyone decides to go to a different bar, they’ll remember to invite me along.
 


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