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Making social media contact: Editor's Notes #184
April 15, 2015

Be nice to people on your way up
because you meet them on your way down.

--Jimmy Durante

In this issue:

1. Making social media contact
2. Tickled my funnybone
3. Interesting Web site

1.Making social media contact
Almost every morning I get up to discover people who want to establish a connection with me on social media. In my case, this is on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Each time this happens, I'm faced with a decision. Do I accept the friend, follow the tweeter, or link to the professional, or do I hit the delete button?

In this issue I tell you how I decide and offer tips to help you connect to those with higher privacy filters than I have.

On Facebook, I usually respond positively to anyone who asks. If the request comes from someone with a profile photo of a buff man young enough to be my grandson who says he loves my blue eyes, I report whoever sent the request. It's almost certainly not a buff young man, and it is definitely someone up to no good.

Not everyone on Facebook is as open to the public as I am. And even I appreciate a personal message that introduces the person who wants to connect. I make it a habit to send a message to someone I want to friend saying who I am and why I want to friend that particular person. I never assume the person knows anything about me unless that person has already commented on or liked something on my page.

On Twitter, I read the profile of every tweeter who follows me. If I like what I see, I hit the follow button. If I'm not sure, I go to the tweeter's full page and read a selection of tweets. If the tweeter seems even remotely related to my interests, I follow back. I do not follow anyone who simply posts over and over, "Buy my book," or "Hire me to XXX."

If I notice someone I want to follow, I usually just hit the follow button. But if I really want a relationship, I send a personal message or I ask a question about something the person has tweeted. This puts me on the radar of the new acquaintance.

I am most careful on LinkedIn. Both Facebook and Twitter are built on the concept of casting a wide net. LinkedIn is altogether different. The rules are that the linked people are to have had an actual connection. I often receive requests to link to people I have never heard of. I check my email files first, and if I have no record of the person there, and if I do not recognize the name, I delete the request.

If I want to link to someone whose newsletters I receive, I contact the person first by return email to say that I will be sending a LinkedIn request. That's because I know that newsletter email lists are managed by technology and the publisher of the newsletter will not recognize me even if I avidly read every issue.

The overarching principle of connecting through social media is to share something of who you are when asking for a connection.


2.Tickled my funnybone
This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I'd never met herbivore.


3. Interesting Web site
Since LinkedIn clients generally follow the rules about linking only to known people, this is a good place to find and be found.

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