Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Social Networking Rules of Engagement

So this social networking is all the rage these days. Wow, you can add that last sentence to the "Things that make me feel old" post. Anyway, I think it's time to come up with some type of criteria to determine whether you should become someones "friend" on Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn or any other social networking site. So the following list is for evaluating potential friends and determining whether you should A) Accept a pending friend request or B) Invite the person to be your friend.

Editor's Note: As many of you know, I do not adhere to my own rules, nor do I want any of you to unfriend me because I do not meet these standards.

Okay, back to the list. Only one of the following rules has to be met in order to invite or accept a pending invite. I was going to create a decision tree, but I'm not sure if blogger has advanced editor capabilities.

1. Do you currently work with the Potential Friend? If so, you have to accept. Work will be awkward if you don't.

2. Do you know the Potential Friend's birthday, middle name, or parents name(s)? If you know two of the three you should accept. If not, move on to the next question.

3. Have you eaten a meal or had a drink with this person (just the two of you). Or, if the person is a grown-up (we'll use 35+ as our definition for this post) have you eaten dinner with potential friend's family? If so, you've got yourself a friend.

Sidebar: I'm finding that people 25-29 have more issues with "adults" joining social networking sites than people under 25. My theory is that for the under 25 set, social networking is your thing. You were in college/high school in 2004 when this became popular. You probably even think the term "social networking" is a way for older people to try to sound cool (agreed). Anyway, the under 25 group that grew up with social networking views the medium in an entirely different way than people in the 25-29 demographic. The 25-29 group feels that they're pushing it on the acceptable age of having a Facebook account, so they really like to look down on older people being on there. Sorry, I'll get back to my list now.

4. Are you in college right now? If yes, then you can be friends with anyone. See sidebar above. This is your thing, so my rules don't apply to you.

5. Did you graduate (same year) from college with potential friend? If yes, then you're good to go. If potential friend went to college with you, but did not graduate in the same class, then you have to share a club, group or team that averaged at least 5 hours/week for at least one semester. If potential college friend does not meet this criteria, move on to #6.

6. Is potential friend's phone number currently stored in your phone? That alone is not enough. If you were to lose, break or upgrade your phone, would you transfer potential friend's number into your new phone? If so, then you've got a new friend.

7. If potential friend randomly emailed you, with the typical "I'm-trying-to-be-a-better-friend-and-trying-to-keep-in-touch-so-here's-everything-going-on-in-my-life-now-it's-your-turn" email, how long do you think it would take you to respond? If it is less than 48 hours from the time you read the email, then they indeed are a friend.

8. If it is a potential friend from high school, do you have a story with potential friend? Note the use of 'with' here. It cannot be: "Remember the time when Potential Friend did X at Y." It has to be: "Remember the time when Potential Friend and I did X at Y." If you've got a story, then you have a friend.

9. Family members. They actually make pretty good Facebook friends. They update their status frequently and post pictures of other family members. You know who you are.

10. Is it after 10 PM? If yes, then accept the pending invite or invite the potential friend. It is statistically proven (N=1) that most friend requests are made and received after 10 PM, so this should take care of most of the other requests that you receive.

Well, I hope this list is helpful. Like I said, I don't use it. If you have others, let us know. Stay tuned for a blog post on "Why my ridiculous blogmate is scared of social networking and refuses to join Facebook" (working title).


Al Iverson said...

I disagree on the first point. I've made a sort-of rule of not automatically friending coworkers on places like LinkedIn. I figure I already *know* those people and interact with them...I don't need to bond with them online necessarily.

Besides, blog stalking is a much better use of my time.

Nate Romance said...

AL - I'll probably accept your no coworkers rule once I become a remote employee like you. The other argument for your rule is that it's not always wise to display your facebook persona to coworkers.

Caitlin said...

It's not my fault that I am within the age bracket where facebook is "my thing"....and if I didn't tag pictures of you, who would? Honestly now bwudda...

Nate Romance said...

Good point Caitlin. Not a whole lot of people tagging me in photos on facebook these days. Especially since we can't get Kate to join.

Jengle said...

You really need a list of rules for when it is Ok to unfriend someone. I have list of guys who dated my GF's friends, now when is it ok to unfriend them?