CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

Culture

My Facebook fetish

CNET News.com's Charles Cooper wants his boss to know there's a reason why he wastes all that time prowling around Facebook each day.

Marissa Mayer still won't give me the time of day.

I've tried several times to become her Facebook pal. But Google's oh-so-precious vice president of "Search Product and User Experience" (now there's a hefty title) wants nothing to do with me. Maybe I should take a hint and get lost. But rejection--especially of the cyber sort--is awfully tough to take.

Before you conclude that I'm some kind of pervert, the truth is that I'm not the only Facebook stalker out there.

Hardly a day goes by without a total stranger asking to become my Facebook friend. Sometimes, the invitation arrives out of the blue. More usually, my wannabe buddy finds me through a common acquaintance--the logic being that a friend of a Facebook friend naturally means we have something in common and so, voila--cyber menage a trois.

I've since returned the favor--many times over. Whenever my boss strolls by, I can cover my tracks by telling him I'm doing research into social networks. That's not entirely a fib. A lot of other people I know confess to the same guilty pleasure. Trolling through their friends' buddy lists has become something of a way to pass the a.m. downtime as you sit down with the day's first coffee.

A lot of other people I know confess to the same guilty pleasure. Trolling through their friends' buddy lists has become something of a way to pass the a.m. downtime as you sit down with the day's first coffee.

I suppose this may sound like a pretty goofy way to spend time. More than anything else, though, I'm curious about who my friends allow into their private cyber domains. Call it a Facebook fetish, but maybe somebody I know managed to land a big fish like Bill Clinton or Sting or even Joe Pepitone.

Like they say in the Lotto commercials, you never know. And because Facebook is a "social" network, I can then ask to become their "friend."

In theory, at least.

Even though I've got a few big names on my list of "friends," it's not as if Jim Cramer or Steve Case is planning to invite me over to Thanksgiving dinner (or vice-versa). It's more akin to collecting baseball cards as a kid. Everybody on the block wanted the A-listers because they were the ones who inspired the oohs and ahhs. After all, bragging rights are bragging rights.

How easy was it to get these guys? Piece of cake. All I had to do was ask.

Of course, this can quickly get out of hand. Maybe that's why Marissa keeps giving me the cold shoulder. I don't take it personally. In fact, I've hit the "ignore" button on many a request since joining the service earlier in the year.

There's obvious risk in being too loosey-goosey on a social network. When it comes to accepting or dismissing people as "friends," I want to know a lot more about them before opening the veil on a big part of my life.

You don't want to let just anybody into the club. And so the system lets you act like a snob without ever giving it a second thought.

If this sounds like a major time suck, it is. That's one reason behind the recurring rumors about possible multibillion dollar bids for Facebook. My hunch is the reports are founded on solid ground. I don't pretend to know the ultimate price tag, but Facebook's enviable "stickiness" will be a potent bargaining chip when management tells any would-be buyer how much it's going to cost.

In the meantime, Marissa, I'm still available.