Making Connections

Social Media connections in my inboxIf you sign up and use social media tools, here’s what might happen to you: the image accompanying this post is my inbox. I recently visited my parents, and I only answered pressing emails … but didn’t really clear stuff out like normal.

Check out the pic – everyone wants to follow! Twitter follow requests … Facebook friend requests … new listeners … Friendfeed subscribers … Flickr contacts … even a request to do something from church (they’re using a cool 2.0-ish tool for worship team scheduling). Probably a couple of blog comments in there, too. There were 2 pages of this.

And some of you play with this stuff more than me … I can only imagine what YOUR inbox looks like!

Who to friend? Who to ignore? Who to respond to? And when? Here’s what I do:

  • Twitter: I get more of these than the others, so I’m a bit pickier here. I friend you if you sound interesting and don’t look like a spammer. I read your bio and a couple of tweets. Sometimes, I look at your follow-to-follower ratio. I usually don’t follow other libraries or people that sound too much like snakeoil salesmen (i.e, that mention SEO/make money online/I’ll make your life better stuff).
  • Also picky with Flickr – I’ll follow you if I know you, if I’ve met you, or if I might meet you professionally (i.e., if you’re a librarian or a social media type).
  • Facebook: I follow most people who follow me. I recently had a run of high school chums discover Facebook.
  • If you follow me as a listener, I’ll follow you back.
  • Friendfeed: Same – I follow back almost everyone who follows me.
  • In any of these, if you send me a message/tweet me/write on my wall, I’ll read it and usually respond if it makes sense to do so. Sometimes I read it, think “huh” and move on – no response needed.
  • Also – if I come across your blog, your book, or an interesting tweet/post, I might friend/follow you – so I can receive more interesting content from you!

When do I do this? Personally, I usually when I read it and/or when it’s convenient to do so (for MPOW, it’s slightly different – I might cover that in another post). I think of follow requests and comments/tweets/wall posts as introductions and conversation, so it makes sense to me to do it sooner rather than later. But then, I don’t have a ton of them, and find it’s simply easier to quickly deal with a follow request quickly and move on, rather than letting them pile up (unless I’m out of town or away from the web for a bit).

What do you do? Who do you friend? And when do you find the time? Stuff to think about…