Participation in social media is not only a modern trend but also a large part of daily life. According to recent statistics, approximately 42% of the world’s population, a stunning 3.6 billion people, use social media.  Other reports state that about seven out of ten Americans use social media to communicate with one another. If nearly half the world’s population is using social media on a regular basis, then they certainly need to be a code of conduct to make such communication run as smooth as possible. In this series entitled Social Media Etiquette, we will discuss the ideal, respect, and honor for which we are to embrace family and friends on the internet.

One issue that has arisen lately, relates to sending friends requests on such outlets as Facebook and Instagram. Imagine one day you turn on your computer and log into Facebook only to find a slew of friend requests from total strangers. Perhaps, you may share some common interest with the individual, such as culture, martial arts, or a sexual preference or two. To make matters worse, you do not even receive a message from this individual. Let me get this straight, just because you share a similar idea with a total stranger does that really warrant them to have access to your life? Certainly not!

Regardless of how long you’ve known an individual or family member, it is only proper to send them a message prior to a friend request. First, it must be understood that friend requests are not the same as followers or likes on a profile. In some cases, individuals have been questioned and even arrested because of the association held with people on their friends’ lists. Recently, employers have been using similar standards as governmental authorities in order to determine if a potential employee is right for the job. Making friendships on social media is a serious thing and should be approached with care, joy, and caution. Below are a few things to keep in mind when sending or receiving a friends’ request on social media like Facebook and etc:
  1. Before sending a friend request, please make sure that you send a message explaining who you are or common interest you may share with the person that you seek to befriend.
  2. Recipients of friends’ requests need not feel obligated to befriend an individual just because they have received an inquiry to be friends. 
  3. As a recipient of a friend request, you have every right to ask the requester about their intentions and why they sent the request.
  4. Whether its the sender or the recipient, every relationship on social media should be approached with utmost sincerity and respect.
The fact that we can keep in contact with individuals in our personal experience in such an intimate way should be applauded. If such tools were used to improve these very same relationships, the world would be a much better place.

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