Admit it… we’ve ALL been there! We log into Facebook, ready to waste – I mean, spend – some time trawling through our newsfeed and there it is… The “Friend Request”. Mostly, this is something which doesn’t even cause us to pause… we see, evaluate and either accept or ignore, but every now and again, something happens which makes us develop a twitch.
Every now and again we will get that weird friend request… and I don’t mean a request from a weird friend (been there though)… The friend request to which I’m referring is of course the total stranger.
The person who has selected us – apparently at random – from amongst the millions of potential profiles on Facebook. There is not only not a single friend in common, but they invariably live in another country and may even have a totally unpronounceable name. It’s like the Facebook equivelant of winning one of those great email lotteries… millions of Dollars from some dead dictator… you know the ones I mean.
What is it about your profile picture that made them decide that YOU were the lucky person they would pick? The truth is that you’ll never know… unless you decide to accept the request and ask them *grin*. At this point, most of us hit the decline button and possibly even the block button (depending on how creepy this person seems). But what do you do if you’re an author?
This is where things get slightly trickier. Naturally, even authors would like to hit “decline”, but is that the best course of action? These days, social media has enabled us to connect with our readers in a way that wasn’t possible before. Yes, this also leads to a degree of loss of privacy, but is the trade-off worth it? Many authors circumvent this problem by setting up a professional profile (not page) and adding friends to that profile. This allows them to keep friends and family on their private profile and still connect with readers, but it isn’t always practical for an author to manage more than one profile.
So what to do? Naturally, every author must decide for themselves, but the advice I would offer is this…
See if you can see more about the person. Do they appear interested in your genre? Accept the friend request If you aren’t sure and take a few minutes to “check them out”. You can always unfriend or block them if they turn into internet trolls or become a bit creepy.
The truth of the matter is that if you are building your author brand and you have set up a Facebook in the name that you use for publishing, then it is reasonable to assume that new fans who are discovering your work or who have perhaps heard about you would add you as a friend. They aren’t necessarily going to be friends with any of your other friends and that is ok. After all, you want to be reaching new readers all the time and if you only reach friends of friends, then you’re paddling in a very small pond really.
What do you think?
Until next time…