by Madeline Laughs
Facebook has sparked a new campaign you can see in the side columns of your Newsfeed. It reads “So and so has just added a bunch of new friends! Do you know any of them?” Then it provides a handy link that will display a listing of these new friends that you can click on.
If someone suffers from FCD (Friend Collector Disorder) this is like handing them a crack pipe and saying “Inhale!”. All the person has to do after opening the listing is click the Add Friend link next to each name and Voila! their friend list just increased.
Even if your new friend doesn’t know the person with FCD, they’ll probably add them because they see that they have you in common with the person. Since you’re their friend, and you’re okay, then why not add someone that you know? Right?
I started referring to this kind of friend as a poacher.
Friend poaching wasn’t something I was aware of until it started costing me friends and causing me some major problems. I have always been a huge proponent of blending my groups of friends, especially if they have something in common besides me. But this kind of blending was not what I meant.
Plucking my friends off of my page and my friend list solely for the purpose of increasing their number of “friends”, or to try to get closer to me, is just wrong.
I have dealt with a number of different kinds of poachers over the last three years.
I Have Thousands of Friends, so that means I Must Be Super Popular: This poacher just likes to see their number of friends on Facebook increase. That BIG number makes them feel better about themselves. For some odd reason this kind of collector uses this number as a boost for their own lacking ego and self esteem. Who cares if they know the person, or not? Who cares if they never have a single exchange with them on Facebook? That new friend served their purpose and that’s all that friend collector cares about.
Luckily for the rest of us unpopular people (insert sarcasm here) on there, Facebook finally started suspending some of their privileges for sending out friend requests. I think this development happened a little too late, but better late than never. Now you can only have so many friends on there and that’s it.
If I Know All of YOUR Closest Friends, Now It Will Be Harder for YOU to Escape Me!!: This person poaches your friends for the sake of extending their tendrils a little further into your life.
This kind is uber creepy.
They aren’t just poaching any old friend they find on your page or your friend list. They’re being selective about it. They poach family members, people that work with you, your spouse, etc. Then they might ingratiate themselves by developing a closer relationship with them in order to get closer to you.
I have heard of several situations where friends have been hurt by this kind of poacher. There is only one thing this poacher has in mind and that is never a healthy one.
This is a precursor to stalking.
I’m a Psycho Single and I’m Going to Poach All the Pretty Women/Handsome Men!: This poacher is usually a narcissist in search of easy targets for flirting and/or pursuing. Whenever I see a single guy poaching the women from my profile I simply delete them and send a private message to the women he’s poached with a warning. I tell them that I don’t condone that kind of behavior, however it’s completely up to them whether or not they continue to be friends with this guy.
In the past I dealt with a malignant Single Psycho. He poached the women and then ended up libeling, abusing and threatening quite a few of them afterwards when they refused to play his game. It was not pretty, or deserved.
I think some of the worst experiences I’ve had with friend poaching was when I was in the middle of cleaning house on my own friend list while an unaware friend poacher was poaching the people I was busy deleting.
I had gotten involved with a sinister group of folks on Facebook. Once I realized what their game was, I started getting rid of them, one at a time. What I started seeing was another friend was actively engaging with these people too and had poached so many of them that the last group she made and added me to meant I ended up sitting right in the middle of this hornet’s nest again. Can you imagine? Suddenly here I am sitting in a group with a bunch of jacktards I just deleted! I tried to make the best of it, but eventually it became too much of a shitstorm and I just had to leave the group and delete her too.
If my friend’s friend list size was more important to her than my friendship, then she can have all of those people I discarded, but she can not have me.
I’m sure she has no idea of the evil element she added to her social network, but it’s not up to me to inform her. Quite honestly, she shouldn’t have been poaching people from my friends that she didn’t even know. If she had asked me, I would have told her what they did to me and why I was deleting them. But she never asked.
Not everyone who poaches has bad intentions.
There are people out there trying to promote a good cause, manage large groups of people online with a hobby or pastime in common, providing a community service or help organization or promote their business or music.
Those kinds of poachers aren’t sinister at all. Their intentions are usually pretty clear too. They have a legitimate purpose. They aren’t just some anonymous face that likes to talk about themselves constantly or whine about stuff they never intend to do anything about changing.
Facebook has a feature I think some folks should think about engaging. You can hide your friend list from the prying eyes of the public and even from your own friends. Seriously, what business is it of anyone’s who you are friends with on Facebook?
Hiding your friend list will also keep your new friending activity from being posted in the new “Do you know any of them?” lineup being paraded to everyone on your friend list too. Here’s how to hide your friend list:
1. Go to your own Profile Page
2. Click the Friends tab
3. Look for the Edit icon. Click it. It looks like a small pencil.
4. Choose Edit Privacy
5. Here you will see how much, or how little of your friendships on Facebook you might share. Anything that is set to Everyone means that even a stranger can see who your friends are. I have both my Friends and my Followers set to Only Me.
I admin quite a few groups on Facebook too. Some of the groups have up to 200 members and I’m not friends with every one of them. I have friends in the groups, but just because I’m an admin, doesn’t mean I need to personally connect with every single member in the group.
I think that some group admins figured out a while back that this was an easy way to increase their friend lists and started abusing this feature.
Just because you’re a member of a group, it does not mean you have to be friends with the group’s admin. If an admin tells you that you have to, then leave the group.
The simple fact is that friend poaching and people suffering from FCD are not good ideas. If people want followers and /or to make new friends, then they should go about it in a polite and healthy way.
Just like in real life, you meet someone online and get to know them first. Or you have a mutual friend that thinks the two of you might hit it off and they make a friend suggestion and introduce you.
Be safe out there in social networking land! Know who you’re friends with online and make sure they know your personal boundaries and respect them too.
- How do you deal with animal poachers? (youngrory.wordpress.com)
- Ugh! (aboutbecky.wordpress.com)
- Spring Cleaning: Facebook prompts users to update friend lists to improve News Feed (insidefacebook.com)