Thursday, March 05, 2009

Networking Slut

I again have encountered a person who has tried to "school me" on the correct way to use LinkedIn and Facebook. This is a person I had never met in person (but whom lives in Austin and has some mutual connections) who sent me a Facebook request, and then was upset that I ignored the random contact.

I have written on this blog several times, and stated nearly every speech I gave last year, that I have a LinkedIn and Facebook personal policy for accepting links. The policy is that I do not accept links or friend requests from anyone I have not spent an hour with (or the digital equivalent). I call it the “coffee, lunch or beer rule”. While I have made some exceptions to this policy, for the most part I have come to know everyone with whom I am connected to in LinkedIn and Facebook.

Facebook has lots of more personal friends, but I am willing to mix in those I know from business, too. As long as they don't mind my old fraternity brothers posting some party pics from the 1980s (YES, I did wear those red pants with my blue blazer to a sorority dance....this was circa 1986). Fortunately most of the photos are tame as I was sort of a goodie-goodie with a fake ID (think Richie Cunningham).

Meeting a person does not make them part of your network…it makes them someone you have met. There is a HUGE difference between one quick meeting and getting to know a person on a personal level and establishing cause to move forward with a business or professional relationship.

Think about dating. If your husband or wife proposed to you the night you met you would have thought them a FREAK. Same is true in business. You need to have established a meaningful connection before making it more permanent. An ongoing digital link to every person who you ever encounter (in person or online) would dilute the power of the links you do have to those whom you have legitimate relationships.

I don’t negatively judge those who want “Free Link” with everyone they meet (social online media / networking is still very new, so many people use the tools in different ways)…. but I am tired of those people thinking I am somehow WRONG for having a policy of limiting my contacts to people I know, like and trust. While I like to network, I am not a networking slut.

Not everyone is going to like everyone else in this world. That's okay. Why should I have to accept a link to someone who is a jerk?

I did not "dislike" the person who prompted this post when she first sent her request. However, after she told me "I just don't believe you understand how online networking works" (ummmm, no..I am not going to say what just popped into my mind), I find her to be rude.... and thus someone I would never want in my Facebook Friends List.

Have A Great Day.

thom

3 comments:

Dr. Rus D. Jeffrey said...

Great post Thom!

I am in full agreement with you on this. I've even taken it one step further when I receive requests on FaceBook from "old hardly known college people." It's amazing how people think just because they graduated in the same year, they're friends.

Sorry, I'm like you, unless I really know a person, they don't get in.

Rus

maczter said...

No worries. I have the same policy and very rarely make exceptions.

Just my observation, but I think this is probably a more "over 30 male" way of doing things..and there's nothing wrong with that. Quality over quantity, especially if you're going to have to swim through their updates every time you log in. :)

Julie said...

Not just an over 30 male thing, it applies to over 30 women too.

I, also, will only accept link or friend requests from people I actually know, and make no apologies for it (although I will only rarely block someone from following me on Twitter).

I attended a lunch 'n learn meeting at work that discussed how social networking can be useful for lawyers and law firms (I work for a law firm). The presenter pointed me out as an example of someone who has a social networking strategy - evidenced by the fact that I ignored the friend request of my firm on Facebook.

For me, Facebook is strictly friends and family. LinkedIn and Twitter are my professional networking outlets (although Twitter is a bit less formal than LinkedIn).

No matter how one uses social media, slut or not, as long as they take course with their eyes wide open, then more power to 'em!