My (somewhat unsophisticated) standards for connecting online

“You’re invited” by anetz on Flickr

Today, over on my LinkedIn blog, I shared my two cents about connecting with others on LinkedIn. In short, I’m pretty restrictive in whom I connect with on LinkedIn. I don’t make many connection requests myself (my network is pretty mature), and when it comes to connection requests sent to me, I generally accept those only from people I know in a professional capacity (through offline or online interaction) or whom I know without question can be a resource to me or for whom I can be a resource. Otherwise, I don’t connect.

Every social media site is a little a different, however. I made a commitment to spend less time on Twitter and Facebook this year, for example, so that’s slowed my activity on both sites and made me much less likely to initiate a friend request or follow someone. However, I do still monitor who’s connected to me, and I use these rules of thumb for deciding whether to connect:

  • Facebook: only if I truly consider the person to be a friend (or did at one point). If I know someone only in a professional capacity, I tend to ignore the Facebook friend request and seek to engage on LinkedIn instead.
  • Twitter: I reciprocate most follows from people, UNLESS I know they’re a bot/spammer (rule of thumb: the prettier the face, the more likely it’s fake) or someone with whom I’d rather not connect. I don’t connect with brands unless I consider myself to be a fan or if there’s a reason I want to follow them related to my work.

I use other social media sites, of course, but these are the ones for which I have somewhat hard and fast rules. Twitter is least restrictive, LinkedIn a little more expansive, and Facebook is the most restrictive at all. In fact, with that in mind, it’s probably time for me to do a little housecleaning on all three.

How about you? What guidelines do you use for choosing to invite connections or accept them from others?

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One Response to My (somewhat unsophisticated) standards for connecting online

  1. Anthony, you said something in one of your Social Media workshops that I never forgot: “Overt self-promotion of yourself for business purposes on Facebook is like a guy showing up at a pool party in a suit.” You have a way of saying things about Social Media that really stick. I’ve applied your clothing analogy to my online interactions: LinkedIn: For people I’ve only seen in their work clothes or business attire. Facebook: For people I’ve seen in their Saturday bum-around clothes. Twitter: For people I’ve seen naked (Just kidding. That would limit it to strangers in the locker room at the gym.)

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