Adding Agents and CDs as Facebook Friends

Hi there Bonnie,

I went back to review your column Social Networking and Acting and got to thinking… usually my first mistake, HA! …about social networking — especially Facebook. My son Kyle and I have joined the exciting world of FB. I am being selective about who he/we friend on his page.

(Rather than randomly clicking away, I want to be cautious and only invite people or names we recognize.) We are getting to a point where we are starting to see agents and managers (good ones with names we recognize but not personally met) on FB with the opportunity to invite as friends.

Okay with that said, my question to you: Since Kyle already has an agent, would it be crossing a line or un-cool to invite them as friends on FB? (Kyle has invited his current agent, but I suspect she doesn’t friend clients… at least Kyle.)

Your thoughts on this would be wonderfully appreciated. I wouldn’t want to do any damage that might have consequences further down the road.

Fred and Kyle Agnew

Good news, Fred. That you are putting this much thought into it at all means you’re very unlikely to misstep. It’s the folks who click “add” or “accept” or “follow” or “share” on everything without giving it a second thought who may be crossing lines they didn’t even know existed. You, by being thoughtful and considerate about each click you’re making, are probably always going to err on the side of “conservative friend requesting,” and that’s a good thing where your son’s career is concerned.

It’s extra sticky when you’re the parent of a child actor, managing his or her online profiles. Because you’re trying to keep the child’s profile out there, keep his or her face in front of us (even by clicking “like” on our status updates), share good news of bookings, but not be seen as a pushy stage parent (or worse).

Balance is key. Everyone in this industry who maintains a Facebook profile, a Twitter stream, or any other semi-public presence knows they’re making themselves a little more accessible than they were back in the “pre-social networking sites” days. (Remember those days? When you may have posted on a message board or Yahoo Group, but there was no Friendster, no LinkedIn, no MySpace, no place other than a personal blog at which you could tell everyone what you just ate for dinner? Wow. I miss 2002.)

Anyway. Point is, industry pros who create online profiles expect they’re going to get their share of friend requests from actors (or, as in your case, parents of actors) in an attempt to network and keep relationships building, so there’s a more personal experience, in the room, when that moment comes. Some of us are wide open for connections online and will accept your friend requests ’til our profiles are too full (like happened to me. I accepted everyone who asked, hit 5000 friends at Facebook, and then started defriending ten people a day and only adding people I actually know in person from here on out — or people I know online but who leave a nice note, let’s say). We use friend categories to segregate out folks we don’t want to see our every photo album, note, vid, and status update, and make sure we post only to the categories of people we want to see “everything.”

Other industry folks will see friend requests from actors they’ve never cast or actors they’ve never met as common annoyances and just click “ignore” (or “not now,” or whatever Facebook has changed the NO button to, this week). Take that for what it is (a “NO, thank you”), and move on. It’s not personal. It could just mean that person really does only use Facebook as a place to connect with friends and family, and wants to leave the office at the office. They’ve declared their Facebook page a “no networking zone.” Let them have that. And if it’s your own agent who declines your friend request, assume the same thing: They don’t want to come to Facebook and see a message from an actor about new headshots or a play or whether that avail got released. So, they’ve drawn that line and you’re on the other side of it. No biggie.

Plenty of other industry folks who have no problem connecting with actors at the various social networking sites. Cool. Connect with them. Share your good news. Build a relationship with them by commenting on their good news. Learn who they are and let them learn a bit about you. It could make for a much more substantive encounter when you do have that face-to-face meeting down the line. Don’t overthink doing the friend requests. And if you are given a little access to their worlds, behave like an invited guest at a nice party. You want to have your company enjoyed while there. You want to get invited back. So, no dancing on tables, breaking lamps, or tracking mud in on the white carpet. Respect that you’re in their space and you’ll be just fine.

Bonnie Gillespie is living her dreams by helping others figure out how to live theirs. Wanna work with Bon? Start here. Thanks!

Originally published by Actors Access at Please support the many wonderful resources provided by the Breakdown Services family. This posting is the author’s personal archive.

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