I've been getting Facebook friend requests from people I don't know for quite a while now. (As I imagine most people do.) And I've been waffling over how to respond to such requests for most of that time.
On the one hand, I kind of like the fact that about 90% of my Facebook friends are people I've actually met face-to-face—in fact, people who I would recognize if I saw them, and vice versa—and almost all of those are people I consider at least friendly acquaintances. (And there are some people on my friends list whom I haven't met face-to-face but whom I nonetheless consider friendly acquaintances or friends.) So it feels a little weird to accept a friend request from someone I've never heard of, or someone who submitted one story to the magazine five years ago, or someone who friended me only because Facebook told them to. (I'm not referring to anyone in particular; I've received multiple friend requests from people in each of those categories, and other similar categories.)
On the other hand, I've intentionally set everything on Facebook to be visible to everyone; I don't post anything there that I intend to be private. So excluding people from my "friends" list doesn't actually keep them from seeing anything, so why exclude anyone? Furthermore, almost everything I post there comes originally either from my blog or from Twitter, both of which are publicly visible.
I don't want my already-overfull friends'-status-updates feed to be flooded with updates from people I don't know. (Even without people I don't know, I can't keep up with the "Most Recent" feed; I just dip my toe in a couple times a day and see whatever's been posted lately, so I miss a lot.) But it's easy enough to hide status updates from anyone whose updates I don't want to see. And it's sometimes interesting to see occasional status updates from people I don't know.
So I'm trying an experiment. I've accepted about ten of the oldest friend requests that've been sitting in my queue; I think those date back to mid-2008. I'm going to see whether doing this results in any problems or annoyances for me. (I figure I can always un-friend people if I need to.)
So far, everyone who I've accepted has turned out not to post much, so this change isn't having much effect on me at all. So I'm cautiously optimistic.
Will continue to accept backlogged requests slowly to see how it goes.
But I still reserve the right to arbitrarily decide to say no to any given request. Especially the ones from DJs and other people who (a) seem to have no reason for being on Facebook other than to advertise their commercial endeavors, and (b) got my name from Friend Finder and don't know anyone else I know. The combination of those two factors (A and B) tends to cause me to click the Ignore button; as far as I can tell, that combination means "I don't know anything about you, but I'd like to spam you with announcements about my gigs and other events."
P.S.: I apologize if this note comes across as overly blunt to those of y'all who I've added recently without knowing. I intend no criticism of you, nor insult; this post is meant as musing about my reactions to friend requests, but there's certainly nothing wrong with your making such requests. Different people have different friending criteria on Facebook; some people accept all requests, others accept requests only from close personal friends. I'm still figuring out where on that spectrum I fall. Anyway, apologies for letting your friend requests sit in my queue for a year and a half.