Over the past five years, as social media has become both personal and work tool, I’ve had to revise my methods and thinking about which connection requests I’ll accept online. As with many things in the blog, the thoughts below are purely my own opinions and should not necessarily be taken as any sort of “rules.”
This is a pretty straightforward app, as you’re either following selected individuals or being followed. I happen to follow a lot of news sites to get a broad (if confusing) picture of the world. You might find some odd or unsavory individuals following your Twitter feed. In that case, Twitter gives you the option to block them so they can no longer follow your tweets. The only advice I’d over here is to be judicious about whom you follow. Since Twitter is a public site, potential employers can get a very clear idea of your interests, from sublime to salacious, based your following habits.
I’ve become a bit looser about these requests, to the point where I now have >1,500 LinkedIn connections. If I can see someone has a business or mutual friend in common, I will usually accept a connection request on this site. However, if I get request out of the blue and there seems to be no connection whatsoever, I’ll decline. Given my continued support of U.S. Government projects, I will continue to decline connection requests from citizens of nations listed on the nonproliferation list (this includes INKSNA, China, and Russia).
Call me crazy or exclusive, but I’d rather just use Facebook to share things with people I actually consider friends. I’m one of those people who resents the “public” default for all postings. If I wanted to share my thoughts with the entire world, I’d post them on Twitter, right? My postings are for my friends. And yes, I am well aware that people can copy/paste something they see on my wall and paste it elsewhere (which is why I try to maintain a PG-13 wall). But really, if I don’t know you or even know of you, it’s unlikely that I will accept friend requests in Facebook. In fact, it’s about time to do a little cleanup of my connections and try to restrict things to people I’ve actually met.
I dread the thought of joining yet another social media site. I am all over the place anyway. Is another site necessary? I’m sure my younger readers are laughing at this because there are always new sites being created and why would you not want to be where all the cool kids are? I’m getting cranky and a tad practical about this business as I get older. I’m not anti-social media like my Silent Generation parents or even one very cranky Gen Xer I know, but I’m also not gung-ho to spread myself too thin. I have made my presence felt in those areas that make the most sense to me: this blog to share my professional insights, LinkedIn to monitor my professional contacts, Facebook to monitor my personal contacts, Twitter to monitor my new interests, and of course my various professional outputs in the space world.
I could pick up a new hobby at some point or face a situation where I need advice about a specific problem, but do I really need that much more social contact? Right now the answer is no, thank you. I might be an introvert, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be polite about it.