I’m not sure how other people decide these things, but I have created my own heuristics as to whom I connect with on different social networks. In case you wish to blame me for your decisions — you’re welcome — here they are:
- Family and Friends: These are blood relatives, friends I see socially on a regular basis, and old friends from way back — basically the people who accept me for who I am and I can share my more embarrassing and private moments with. Since our relationship is personal, I use these social networks for personal interaction, for staying in touch with a global group and I maximize the privacy settings. For personal, find me on:
- Professional Relationships: If we have ever met face to face, or had a phone conversation related to work (or you are family or friend), then I am happy to interact with you on a more professional social network where I limit my personal exuberance, and just conduct some business. Lets connect on:
- Instant Messaging
- Internet Friends: If either of us follow each-other on a popular social network, or we connect via email, comments or this web site, I’d love to connect with you on public social networks. I maintain my public persona there (and leak some of my personal tastes and quirks), am not afraid to express myself, but try to remain polite, humorous, responsive and not too chatty. So lets connect on:
But, like all of us, there are some people I prefer not to connect with on any social network. For that, there is always email. I do not hide my email addresses (see the About page), and prefer work email to Noverse, personal emails at gmail and public emails at hiltmon.com (but not to all three, see Email Etiquette). I do enjoy receiving emails from anyone, even PR folks, recruiters I know and mailing lists I signed up for. I believe you cannot go wrong contacting me via email, it works great. And when it comes for me to reach out, I prefer to email or tweet first.
I have no patience, however, for spammers, bots, or people who invite me to join annoying games via social networks, they just get muted and nuked.
As for social networks not mentioned above, I am probably on them as I tend to sign up and try everything. But, I tend to ignore them, and have already turned off all mail notifications so I will never see if you do try to connect with me.
I’m not sure these heuristics will work for you and your network. I choose to use Facebook for close friends, LinkedIn for work and love using Twitter and App.Net to connect with everybody. And if in doubt, there is always email.