Since many of us use Facebook as a true social media networking device, for professional and personal business, I tend to allow friend requests when I notice that many of my other connections have the same “friend”.
I was not always this way. I use to research the connections, see if there was some kind of mutual interest, potential business opportunity, now or in the future, or information I could share with other connections. I laid off my pickiness in acceptance. I mean so often we read blogs about using networking sites as a way to connect with everyone. Everyone has a potential value for your business, etc.
Apparently this is not unnoticed by the bad guys, spammers, scammers, and even those lonely hearts.
Recently I was asked to be a friend by a male who upon checking out his profile I noticed he had 33 shared friends. All 33 were business connections. I readily accepted and then went back to check out his profile further. In my business, many of my referrals come through social media outlets, so I wanted to get a gander at what he was working on and see if there was anything I could offer, anything I could share, comment on, etc.
Well, after noticing that he did not have a complete profile posted, no job, no activities, no publications, no nothing I knew something was wrong. I sent him a message and asked him what he does. I asked him how he knew me and /or my connections. Was he a writer, journalist, publisher, transcriptionist, student, parent of a disabled/special needs child, parent, green enthusiast – anything that would be of interest to me?
I realized that he had connected to one person and then went down the list of that person’s connections to connect with others, and others readily connected thinking the same thought I had – he knows so-and-so, it is okay.
I credit my suspiciousness to another connection who let all of her connections know about another scammer who wanted to sell diamonds to a friend of hers, constant chat requests, and then pow – the scam begins. This guy, after responding to my request for more information, said that I was suggested by Facebook and that he was a lonely heart. (I bet). Of course I was suggested. He already had 33 of my friends, and was now up to 36 after an hour of connecting.
I disconnected our friendship, posted a status update to alert others.
I know my connections. If not personally or professionally, I know my connections know them. I know their profile and what they do and what they are into, and before I connected with them, I checked past status updates to be certain they have commonalities with me. I refrained from this “knowing step” on this individual and it could have been disastrous for any one of my connections, or me. At the very least, it would have been an inconvenience I nor my connections needed.
From now on, I will go back to my usual steps in evaluating my connections and friend requests and be a bit more cautious and not just assume that because they are connected to a “friend” that we are a good social media network match.
Some people may feel as if having tons of connections is networking and valuable. I feel like having connections that have something significant to offer, to share, and who possibly even want to share my information is priceless.