To follow, to friend, to connect, to circle?

Picking your social media friends

If you are active in the social media, you probably get a lot of chances to follow back on Twitter, respond to a freind request on Facebook,  a request to connect on LinkedIn, or a notification that someone has added you to a circle on Google+.  How do you choose who to accept and who to engage with?

twitter birdI wrote a post about Twitter last year, Why I am not following you back on Twitter, that became one of my most read posts ever.    A lot of my personal Rules of Engagement in that post apply across the spectrum of platforms.  I generally don’t reciprocate if you:

  • don’t bother building even a minimal user profile
  •  have a “red flag” phrase in your profile
  • have an extremist agenda
  • have x-rated profile picture or no profile picture
  • seldom, if ever, update, your stream
  • are an obvious spammer or scammer
  •  won’t even speak to me in real life
  • are a troll and proud of it

In addition to the Twitter piece, here are a few more of my personal rules  Rules of Engagement.  These are just my personal preferences, and in no way should they be considered guidelines for you:

bacebookFacebook  I generally don’t follow back someone who does not have the remotest connection to me in real life.  I don’t think using someone else’s picture as your profile picture is cool;  they don’t call it FACEbook for nothing.  I don’t want to see Marilyn Monroe or Wiley Coyote – I want to see you.  If I can post my real picture, so can you.

LinkedIn  Here’s a good post on 5 ways you stink at Linkedin from the UnMarketing blog that points out some annoying behaviors.  I am not big on connecting with my local competitors, either.  It gives them first level access to my clients.

Google+

You don’t have to add anyone to a circle who adds you on Google+.  I generally try to figure out why someone added me, and then add them to the appropriate circle(s).   If there is no connection, I put them in a circle called “don’t know” which I periodically check for good content creators.  I also periodically delete and recreate the circle, leaving those in it un-circled.  The un-circled can still see my public posts, so I really don’t have to circle them in the first place.  Of course, if the folks in my circles break my Rules of Engagement, they can be un-circled or in, extreme cases, blocked.  If you are new to Google+ this must all sound pretty crazy.  There’s more on basic Google+ management HERE, and I also highly recommend Guy Kawasaki’s e-book, What the Plus! Google+ for the rest of us for a better understanding of G+ culture and engagement; and it’s a great book for Google+ beginners.

I didn’t really have the intention of ranting in this post.   We all have time constraints, and we all have the right to a somewhat pleasant life, free from time sucks and annoying people.  Make your own rules of engagement.  Control your social media life. You will be a happier person for it.

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