Sunday, November 27, 2011

Facebook Friending Strategy (Social Network Niceties)

This post is a few scattered thoughts on the following:
What is the purpose of facebook?
Why have a “friending” strategy?
Who do I consider “friending” on facebook?
Of those I consider “friending”, how do I filter?

Before making any serious choices, you must have a set of values and ideals that give you direction. Putting it another way, if you don’t care about anything then you don’t need to make decisions. What you care about and value will influence your use of social media tools, and how you use them.

If you are using facebook, chances are that you want to connect with friends and people you know. That’s kind of the whole point of this thing. Unless you are a celebrity of some sort with fans you want to communicate with, or who you want to communicate with each other, there is not a whole lot of point in deliberately trying to tick up a great number of friends.

Facebook is not (first and foremost) a marketing website. Google plus is where you can get to know new people based on interests rather than merely interacting with people you already know. This makes G+ much more useful as an all-encompassing (one-stop) social media tool.

Why have a friending strategy?
So that you are being considerate to others. So that you are aware of your own actions (you might be stalking or freaking others out without realising)

Who do I consider friending on facebook?
Anyone I know through work (other teachers and students), sport (parkour, rugby of old), old school mates, people I know from church, people that I interact with in other ways (online, meet in airports, etc)

How do I filter?
I don’t usually friend anyone who has a high level of privacy on their facebook page. If they don’t reveal a lot of info about them self it is likely they don’t want further interactions or they only want to interact with close friends.
I don’t tend to friend anyone who doesn’t have many friends. If someone has 50 friends and is one of my students then they clearly don’t have much online activity. I will balance this with how old someone is - older people tend to have fewer friends but sometimes it is good to have that connection in case you might want to get in touch.
I don’t friend anyone who is immature and who I am not seeking to influence to help them grow into a more mature person - they will only spam my information stream.
I try to only friend people that I will potentially interact with, either to contribute something of value to them or to for them to contribute something of value to me.

There is a tension to keep in balance with friending. You must balance your desire to be in contact with (have access to) a person with your reasonable guess of how much they desire to have contact with you.

I can see more shift towards Google+ over the next few years as the platform develops and as people begin to understand (and trust) the wider social use that G+ offers compared to it’s main competitors (facebook and twitter).