I’m on several social networks and use slightly different policies for deciding who I connect with in each. This will explain why I did or didn’t accept your request, follow you back, friend you, or whatever verb you’re expecting, and what kind of content you’re likely to see from me in that space.
Twitter: If you follow me, I look at your profile. Reasons I won’t follow you back include seeing any or all of the following, which are just my preferences (so it's not you, it's me):
- No bio.
- No tweets.
- Tweets that reflect only a desire to sell me something that doesn’t interest me.
- Most of your tweets tell me what you're doing moment to moment, including when you get up in the morning, what you had for breakfast/lunch/dinner, and when you went to bed. A few of these, sure--I do a few myself. Blow-by-blow daily itineraries--not so much.
- You don't appear to share much in the way of information or resources. If I had my way, the Twitter prompt would read, "What are you sharing?" I'm more apt to follow someone when a certain percentage of tweets contains something interesting-looking: a blog, a news item, a site that does something cool, fun, or useful.
- Page after page of @ messages without general tweets to all. I appreciate a mix of @ conversations and general "y'all come!" comments and questions--goes along with the sharing mentality I appreciate. If all your tweets are interactions with individuals, I don't feel as welcome, somehow.
- No @ messages at all. So you're not in any direct conversations at all; you're broadcasting.
- No interests in common from my perspective. You may be interested in some topic(s) that I tweet about, while the reverse may not be true. I’m not looking to build a huge following, and if you unfollow me it’s no big deal—you’re just changing the channel.
If you choose to follow me, I really appreciate it if you send me an @ message to tell me why, or what interests you in my tweetstream. I do that for people I follow to establish an initial connection.
Why I’m on Twitter: For me, the point of Twitter is learning and conversing. I typically follow people with interest or expertise in the same things I tweet about: social media, communications, PR, higher education, bike commuting, active transportation, public policy, government, urban planning, health care, environment, the nonprofit sector, and my geographic region of Spokane/Inland Northwest.
Facebook: This is the most “closed” of my social network spaces. If you send me a friend request, I will only accept it if I know you personally. Even if we have common interests, or have a connection through a project I’m involved with such as Bike to Work Spokane, that doesn’t mean I’ll friend you.
My status updates there are fairly personal: what I’m up to, what the family’s doing, my latest blog post, with a little work stuff mixed in. I also manage the WSU Spokane page, and hope you’ll be a fan if it interests you.
LinkedIn: I will accept an invitation to connect if we have had enough interaction that I feel I know you professionally or personally. This could be direct personal contact, or through the medium of discussions on Twitter or via email that have given me some understanding of who you are.
LaunchPadINW: I’m actually still figuring this one out. I am somewhat reluctant to “friend” someone I haven’t met who actually lives in my town. For now, I’m using my Facebook policy, so I have to know you in the real world before I’ll accept your invitation on LaunchPad.
The rest of the world, outside social networks: My email is widely available, so if you want to establish a connection get in touch with me at work.
Better yet, jump into a cause that we both care about--I'm always recruiting for volunteers!
- Citizens for Spokane Schools: Election Day is March 10, 2009, for a renewal of the levy and bond funding essential to Spokane Public Schools.
- Friends of the Falls: We work to engage people directly with the Great Spokane River Gorge so they learn to love our river and work to keep it clean and accessible for generations to come. We should be constructing our whitewater feature in 2009, and your membership dollars will help us keep working on projects in the Strategic Master Plan for the gorge.
- Bike to Work Spokane: We work to promote commuting and community for Spokane cyclists. We partner with the SpokeFest Association, Bicycle Alliance of Washington, and the Spokane Bicycle Advisory Board to educate, encourage, and support bike commuters and the drivers who interact with them.
I’m always happy to build new relationships in the actual real world where we have faces, voices—you know, all three dimensions, or better yet four (being acquainted over time) :D.