26 January 2010

Helping an old friend out with Facebook . . .

A colleague has just asked me and someone else he knows this question about Facebook, having been contacted by someone he didn't think he knew. Couldn't resist sharing the correspondence! I'll add 'Mum's' when I get it.

Dear Andrew & Shelagh
. . . I went on it for the first time in a year and I saw a debbie mclaren who asked me a question about my flying apparel on the front page - she seems a perfectly decent sort though I have no idea who she is and wondered if she came via your good selves?As you can tell I'm not sure how it all works . . .

Dear Steve
Come along, old boy, some frilly wants to be friendly and you need advice??!! Shelagh & I feel like your mum and dad!!I don't recognise the name but you may be able to find out more about her by clicking on her name or profile picture which should link to her profile. That may provide a hint. Could be someone that's been in an audience at one of your events, a friend of a friend or just someone who liked your picture!

My guess is that Debbie was looking for someone she had met called Steve Smith and Facebook has a simple name search facility which will have, in your case and unfortunately for her, probably come up with 100,000+ possibilities. (My name's pretty common - probably 20,000+ but Shelagh's luckier and simpler to find).

Anyway, Debbie has probably liked your floppy bits and decided to while away a couple of minutes in the office making a comment before proceeding with her search of the other 99,999+ Steve Smiths. You may find she's asked you to be a 'friend' (look at the top of the right panel) which would help identify her if you say yes. No harm done. You can always delete her if she's a nuisance. My daughter has an incredible 1000 'friends'.

Think of Facebook as something like a car park. People may occasionally scrawl on your dusty bootlid or stick a note under your wiper. You may even wind down the window and chat with someone else. When you're away from the car you can leave a note saying 'Back soon' or leave some pics on the dashboard shelf. Or you may just sit there listening to some CDs (sorry, cassettes in your car) or playing with yourself. Games I mean. I think. Maybe not but that's another matter we needn't develop here. Debbie may have parked next to you once a while ago or has just been leaving notes on anyone's car with something she's liked inside.

Just a thought . . it is dead easy to make a profile so, for instance, Geoff Foot may have decided to make a new one with some random picture and a different e-mail address and to call himself Debbie. Always sobering to bear that in mind should some particularly attractive person appear on your page before you jump in the old red Cavalier and head for Cardiff on a promise :)

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