Developing a sensible friending policy across social networks

by Ron on September 22, 2010

Social networking is a powerful communications tool And the more it grows, the more powerful it is.If you’re anything like me, you have different policies in place, depending on the social network. I’m least picky on Twitter (although as you’ll see I have a standard) and most picky on Facebook. LinkedIn

Here’s how I do it:


I’m strictest on Facebook because it’s such a huge network and I want to limit it to people I trust. I may not be completely consistent in my approach, but my philosophy for the most part is to limit Facebook to friends, family and trusted business associates and acquaintances.

I know, I know, it’s still a bit wide open, but I divide my friends into two groups (see Dividing Your Friends into Groups): Friends and Business. Friends are just that; friends and family members. Business is everyone else. That way, if I want to share photos with just one set, I can do that.

In the mean time, I set my Facebook privacy settings as strictly as possible to prevent anyone else from accessing content in my profile.


My standard on LinkedIn is much more liberal. If I met you at a conference or we have communicated for business at some point, I will connect with you. If I don’t have any clue who you are, I use my friend Christine Pilch’s method, which is to send a note asking how we know each other. Just because we belong to a common LinkedIn group is probably not enough of a threshold for me to connect to you. We have to have some, well, connection.


I have the loosest standard of all on Twitter. After all, it’s not as close a connection as on FB or LI. I may follow you if you retweet my post or we have common followers or any number of reasons. I will not follow you if you are clearly a marketer (10,000 friends and 2 tweets) or you just don’t strike me as very interesting. You have to show me something in your Twitter bio and if you’re a business, I have to be interested in what you do.

You may have your own philosophy and methods as you move across your various social networks, but I think you should develop some filtering techniques. Just having numbers for number’s sake doesn’t really make sense. The idea of online social networking after is to be social. If you have no connection whatsoever, what’s the point?

Photo Credit: CanStockPhoto

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