Dealing with the social networks

Everyone deals with their social networks differently, which is great. It shows that we are in charge of the technology and how it serves us, rather than vice versa.
   But with nearly sixty outstanding invitation requests to me on LinkedIn and five on A Small World, I thought I’d share mine.

I’ll follow back real humans for the most part. But if your Tweetstream is filled with quotations from famous people, or coupons, I’m grouping you with the bots, even if you have some real Tweets. If I want to know what Benjamin Franklin once said, I’ll grab a book on him. I don’t need to see his stuff on Twitter.

It seems to be such a default network now. I used it as a tool for business and my mayoral campaign. People I know and trust: you get full access to me, with the exception of a few private albums for a handful of friends. People I kind of know: you’re on limited profile, which means a few more albums and info on friends are blocked to you. Organizations pretending to be people and customers I don’t know: you get something even more limited, sorry.

I admit I connected, in the early days (2003–4) to a few I didn’t know, mainly people I met online through business groups. These days, I’ve changed my policy, and I’d disconnect from a few if I could. If we emailed once in 1999 or spoke once on the phone in 2004, that does not make us potential LinkedIn connections, unless that dialogue was earth-shatteringly brilliant. (Sending me a reminder of how brilliant it was in the invitation request is a good idea.) Being part of my LinkedIn network means an endorsement of sorts: it means I am willing to recommend you to a friend for your expertise, and I need to know you won’t mess it up.

A Small World
Since ASW is very strict on connecting, then if I don’t know you, then I won’t connect to you. Don’t presume that because we have a connection on the other sites that I am automatically going to connect to you here. If you saw my name on a forum and that is the only time you have seen me, then I won’t connect to you. I treat ASW as private, not a business network (that’s what LinkedIn is for). That also means I’m not a source of invitations for complete strangers.

   I’m sure people have rejected connections to me for their own reasons, and that’s absolutely fine. The important thing is that these networks work for us, and we don’t get caught up in the myth of numbers. Quality, not quantity.

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