Question for longtime Facebook users: What’s the proper etiquette when someone you do not know asks to befriend you? On LinkedIn, most people I know will link only with people they know, because that linkage might act as a recommendation, an endorsement, a reference. What’s the case on Facebook? Is it like Friendster, with an arms race of friends, the more the better? Or is it like LinkedIn, where the relationships and history matter? And if I agree to befriend someone I don’t know, is it then proper and necessary to say I don’t know them? Or is that rude?
(signed) New kid on the block
Danah Boyd, one of the great students of online interaction, is speaking at PDF and suggests that candidates leave their digital spaces and reach out to their MySpace friends (or equivalent on Facebook or YouTube or blogs) and leave a comment there: interact. But, she hears, as do I, the candidates do not have time to do this. I hear is said they don’t have time to blog, either. Or vlog. And that seems to make sense.
But as Danah points out, candidates go to events — fish fries, coffees, churches — where they shake hands with a few people people and that’s important because it’s real. Well, the equivalent now is to reach out “and it’s about literally going and digitally shaking hands.”
And there are more advantages: The handshake lives on. It’s visible and linkable.
Last week, I did an interview for the CBS Evening News about the online civility discussion. It didn’t make it to air (after my Free Speech segment also did not see the light of video, I’m getting a complex). So now it’s an online exclusive, an Eye to Eye segment intro-ed by Katie herself. You can watch it here. Given CBS’ new video-everywhere deals, I think I’ll soon be able to embed such a segment. But now I can only link to it.
The taping of the segment was both funny and emblematic of how big TV works. I did the whole interview looking at the camera in Washington while Daniel Sieberg asked the questions in New York. But after we finished it all, they realized they’d set up the shot wrong — “wrong” being a relative term, relevant to the orthodoxy of old TV. I was looking straight at the camera but Daniel was looking to the side, as if we were in the same room with bookshelves behind each of us. That’s how they often make such interviews. But we were now now in visual sync. So we went through it twice again with him asking me the questions — once with him looking at the camera and once with me looking to the side. Sadly, I didn’t do as well the second or third time around. On the air, they surely would have edited it the “right” way. But when they put it up online, to their credit, they didn’t let that broadcast orthodoxy worry them; they put up the better discussion — my to-the-camera answers with his to-the-side questions — and they let it run more than 1:30 (I start getting tired of even myself at the 5:00 mark).
My Guardian column this week recounts my views on the blogging code of conduct kerfuffle and how this once again causes media to lump us all in together and judge us by stereotypes Don Imus wouldn’t get away with. Full column here. Snippet:
In the end, I’m afraid that O’Reilly’s crusade only gives reporters their latest excuse to slam blogs. It inspired a page-one New York Times headline labelling the crusade “A Call for Manners in the World of Nasty Blogs”. I got many calls from reporters wanting to do more stories about our nastiness. So I proved their point and got nasty in return, lecturing them all, arguing that they were viewing the blogosphere as a monolith and a mass when, in fact, it is the place where we finally can speak as individuals. But more important, they were judging us by our worst, which is like saying that the Guardian cannot be trusted because it’s a newspaper, just like those ratty red-tops, or that you are a hooligan just because some football fans are. It is blog bigotry. I growled at them.