My mother obviously couldn't have taught me this because she isn't even on Facebook. Which is really probably a good thing. I resisted the "social networking" frenzy as long as I possibly could out of the principle of the matter. Mostly because My Space dominated the market and it seemed like something for musicians, teenagers, and child predators. I wanted nothing to do with it even after Facebook entered the scene. But then a year ago my curiosity got the better of me and so I gave in.
Immediately I got friend requests from people I knew in college all the way back to people I knew in elementary school. Which, since I moved around more than most people I know, I had lost touch with many of them so it was pretty neat to touch base with them again after all these years.
In case you haven't figured it out, I hated most of high school except my freshman year. Well suddenly I'm facebook friends with these people who somehow contributed to this awkward time of my life. And before you know it you're "friends" with a bunch of other people you knew at some point in your life either because you drunk friended them (like drunk dialing) or sober friended them because you talked yourself into the nerve to send them a friend request. Or they did the same to you.
So I saw no facebook etiquette for how to handle a new friend. I thought it only polite to at the very least say hi on their wall or even email them to catch up. I genuinely cared too. I found out it was like being in high school all over again where they find it amusing to just ignore my "hello how are you." And they sent me the request!!! Why would you friend me only to ignore me. Or accept a friend request only to ignore me. Trust me if you didn't care enough about me to keep up with me until now, my life is not nearly interesting enough to ignore me on facebook.
Then there are those that just send you a friend request because they want numbers. So if they ever ran across your path or went to the same school as you, they send you and 100's others requests. But they never bothered to get to know you ever. I'm not convinced they really knew my name. They just saw me in a school group they are in or something like that. So what do I do? I just say no. Lots of friends don't make you a super nice and genuine friend and person. That's not to say I'm super close with all of my facebook friends, but I do know that they knew my name or I knew them and we've all had some sort of interaction be it have actual classes together or actual conversations no matter how short.
That said it's here to stay and it's a much better forum than most of the other "social networking" forums and who knows, maybe it will result in a job someday when I need or want it. Also I find it to be the only way some of my friends communicate anymore. I still prefer email and am glad some of my closer friends also keep in touch that way. Needless to say, I no longer feel like I must make some form of communication with with a new friend. But I always always respond, if someone wants to know what's up with me.