“Can I have your number?”
A question met with either delight or inward horror, especially when asked in a social setting. Not easily answered with a straight “No”, and often responded to with a fake number.
Asking for someone’s cell phone number opens up a world of possibilities, as it generally means further communication. In asking for your number, a person is implicitly asking for permission to contact you whenever he or she pleases, for a variety of reasons. From business to pleasure, to asking for help, to drunken calls at 3am to discuss the philosophical merits of life.
And honestly, sometimes you are not all that chuffed with that.
What I find interesting though, is that I recently met someone who was entertaining and engaging, though not someone I would see or speak to every day. A few hours after meeting this guy, he asked me, “Can I add you on Facebook?” An easy question to answer since it’s just an online platform, right?
His question made me think though, the rapid expansion of social networks has many effects on personal communication, amongst other things. It can be less intrusive than asking for one’s cellphone number, but implicitly, the person is asking, “Can I have access to the information you and your friends place online, including updates about your mood, personal photos, conversations, and hey, while I’m asking, can I have access to your friend base, too?”
Suddenly a simple question raises eyebrows. Am I really okay with a person I just met trawling through my photos, the names and basic details of my friends, and having the ability of taking note of my every change of status?
Am I okay with that?
I added the dude on Facebook, but I am still uncertain of my answer to that question.
Sure, Facebook has updated its security settings, but there is still a whole lot of info which he can access.
Other people, too. Ever tried to describe a person to your friend, only to have them say, “I have no idea who that is”?
Easiest way to show them, is to search for their profile on Facebook. Even if they have militantly tightened their security, you have access to their network, Facebook friends, and profile picture.
Not that I am saying Facebook promotes online pseudo-stalking (or am I??).
But that simple question “Can I add you on Facebook?” allows a person to view the photos that pitch up after a rough night out, or during a stupid stunt, or even pictures taken while doing something harmless, but nonetheless illegal. Or just terrible photos you’d rather burn than show to your beloved pet dog.
Just something I’ve been thinking about. Especially since I often update my status without considering who may be offended or interested in it, later kicking myself when they leave an awkward comment, or ‘Like’ the status update.