Comedians, musicians, and artists of all types want to have as many friends, followers and fans as possible; but accepting friend requests without confirming that it’s coming from an actual human is a bad idea, and here’s why.
Any time I get a friend request I send out a message asking the “person” how we know each other/where we might have met, and to simply reply back to me so that I know they’re a human. I’d say about one in three requests come from profiles that are pretty obviously phony (hot young Russian girl with 3 photos and no friends, who’s been on facebook for about a week), but a few are vague at best. There’s the occasional comedian or open-miker that I’ve never met or worked with, but is trying to fluff up their peer group and connect with other comedians for whatever reason. Either way, I send my standard message, and wait for the reply.
I’d say that 70% of the time I never hear back. If it’s a Russian hacker or Nigerian banking prince, I’d think they’d at least have a follow up, but they don’t. The bots and spammers never reply, period. When I don’t hear back from an aspiring comic or open miker, I’m actually surprised. You want me to accept your friend request so you can bombard me with shitty promo for your 4 minute set at the coffee hut open mic, but can’t take 20 seconds to respond to my message? Go fuck yourself. That smacks of the typical “self-absorbed comic who doesn’t get the two-way street thing”, and if you can’t let me know that you’re flesh and blood, you’re probably not going to appreciate or repay someone for helping you out in your short-lived comedy career.
Enough bitching, here’s why it’s a bad idea for you to accept that request: You’re letting hackers into your world. Everyone worries about their passwords and 4 digit iphone pin number, but everyone forgets about the back door. When you accept that friend request you’re allowing that profile access to your friend list, photos, high school info, and so on. Some of that may be private, but with enough time they can figure it out. Have 25 friends the same age that all went to the same high school? They can figure out what your high school mascot was. Places you and your family has lived? They can find out which street you grew up on. Are you getting the picture yet?
Someone doesn’t need to figure out your password; it’s like attacking a tank in the front. All they have to do is figure out the answers to your security questions and they can infiltrate your email account. Once they’ve done that, they can get into everything else. A determined hacker can spend an hour pouring over your profile and deduce lots of useful information, arming them to answer your security questions and ruin your mojo. Your email account is like the hatch on top of the tank; if they can get through the hatch they can control everything else from inside.
Find out your porn star name! Just combine your mother’s maiden name, and your social security number, then post it here so we can see it! That’s why those games and surveys exist on facebook; it’s a way for hackers to get the answers your security questions.
What can you do? For one, stop just blindly accepting friend requests because you’re a whore. Send them a message, and ask for a reply. At the very least, check out their profile you dummy. Most of the bogus ones don’t even try that hard. They’ve got about 9 photos, half of which are of a cat or fireworks. They grew up in Çatakköprü Bucağı, went to high school in Johannesburg, but now live in Delaware. Do you really think that some random Russian 20 year old stumbled upon your Youtube video and now wants to take the helm of your international fan club? That’s a paddling. They’ve been on facebook for one month and all their friends are desparate/lazy comedians or horny fat dudes. Don’t be an idiot. Also, don’t be such a needy whore for a high friend count, that’s how you get facebook herpes. You’re also opening everyone else up to this crap by way of your friends list, so stop it.
Secondly, change your security answers. Even better, change the questions. I’ve always been a fan of making up one’s own questions, but unfortunately most websites and social media haven’t implemented that option yet. I don’t remember my mom’s birthday, but I’ll never forget how many firecrackers went off on my chest in that bathtub. If you can dictate the question, it’s a lot harder for someone to decipher. If you don’t like the questions they provide, make up an answer that someone can’t guess. Favorite teacher? Potato salad. Street you grew up on? Hitler’s toenail clipper. Mother’s maiden name? Raxacoricofallapatorius Jones. If you answer the prescribed questions honestly, they can be figured out and hacked.
Lastly, why not connect with people? That’s the whole point of being on social media in the first place, isn’t it? You do a show, people laugh, and a few… just a few of them, actually remember your name and take the time to look you up on facebook, and send you a friend request. The odds of that happening are very slim, so why wouldn’t you take the 30 seconds to send them a message saying, “thanks”? Every comedian says they want fans, but very few actually make any effort beyond ending their set with, “Hey guys, add me on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pintrest, and buy my cd too!” Why? Why should they add you? So you can ignore them and treat them like a number on a government census? Talk to them. Even if it’s just one initial message asking them if they’re a human; it lets them know that you know they exist. If you can’t take the 30 seconds to do that, you don’t deserve fans.