How do people decide to accept an invitation to connect on Social Media?

I’ve been browsing Quora for many months. I enjoy this type of site, like LinkedIn Answers, where I can respond to people’s questions for which I feel more than confident in my answer. This one I responded to quite a white ago.

The question was principally with regards to LinkedIn and how people chose to connect or not with other people. After having seen the answers already there, which surprised me a bit, I decided to answer as my answer was different from the lot. Most people responded they only connect to people they know in one way or another, or know the company the person works for – but they do not accept people unknown to them.

What makes most social networks so hard to define sometimes is that they are used very differently by each individual. Ask 10 persons around you (family, friend & coworkers) how they use Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn and you will get several different answers. Then ask them how they decide to accept people on various social media, and again you’ll get a few different answers.

Here are my criteria for accepting people / following people, on various social media:

LinkedIn – you want to connect? my answer is always YES.

I use LinkedIn only as a business connections network – the more connections, the more opportunities… In business, that’s what really matters (I think). So it doesn’t matter who you are, where you work, where you like or how old you are, ask me and I’ll connect – why not?  I have no problem connection with just about anyone here because aside from my resumé, there are no personal information there (on LinkedIn) that I don’t mind anyone knowing about me.

Facebook – want to be my friend? my answer is YES only if I really do know you and how I can get a hold of you outside of Facebook (either by phone, in person or email).

I use Facebook predominantly for business but also personally, sharing sometimes when I’m somewhere with friends, or some other times I’ll share family photos.  If I know who you are, I have no problem sharing this personal information with you, but I wouldn’t if I don’t know who you are. For me facebook = friendbook.

Twitter – you want to follow me, I’ll always send a Thank You note

Notice I manually send the thank you note, not automatically. I usually say thank you “Bob”, or “Carrie”, but not your full name or account name. I will follow you back ONLY if what you tweet about is of prime interest to me. If you stop following me because I didn’t follow you back, that’s perfectly fine. I use twitter to share business news articles I think are worth sharing – if they’re not of interest to you, don’t follow me.

Quora – you want to follow me, I’ll follow you back

Here, as with LinkedIn, there are very little personally identifiable bits of information about me so I don’t mind. More importantly, I’d rather have a larger network because should I need to ask a question, I’d like to think I could know the right people who could answer me. However that is not the case yet as I have 3 open questions (since early January) that have gone unanswered…

SlideShare – you want to follow me, I’ll follow you back

Again, like Quora and LinkedIn, there are no personally identifiable info on me here. However, I am always eager to learn more and gain access to great presentations. So I want to know when up upload something new.

Foursquare – you want to be my friend – fine

I used to use Foursquare legitimately, but that changed quickly when I realised I could easily cheat to earn new badges. If you follow me on Foursquare to know where I am, you’ll have a hard time following up for starters, and and harder time deciding where I really am… But if you’re looking for tricks or the latest badges, then you’ll follow me for the right reasons.

Get Glue – follow if you like, I don’t follow back

I use GetGlue to track how much non-media media (media with no advertising) I consume – out of pure curiosity. I’ve only just started using this to discover new TV series to watch.

Pinterest – follow me if you like, I don’t know if I’ll follow back

Pinterest is new for me (as it is for most I guess). Here so far, I’m trying to figure out what I can get out of it, so I’ve created boards about my favorite books, films, tv shows, bands and my personal passion for the Hard Rock Café. I’ll follow you if you have a similar passion, or if I know you personally – for now.

How do you use your various social networks? How do you accept new connections? Let me know

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