Monday, 3 November 2008

LinkedIn Facebook Twitter - Different Connection Style

As a result of my recent change in my Approach to LinkedIn Connections, I've actually met quite a few people who read my blog, but I don't believe had ever commented. They were comfortable connecting with me via LinkedIn and since it offers mutual value it was worth the effort. It truly does feel like a (virtual) networking event.

Interestingly, one of the people who connected to me suggested we might want to do the same on Facebook and Twitter. This really got me thinking. I described my approach to LinkedIn only having recently changed where I view my connections now as really being more of a combination of:
  • PANs = Potentially Active Network
  • CANs = Currently Active Network
  • FANs = Formerly Active Network
I used to think of LinkedIn (and LinkedIn themselves suggest this is how to think of it) as containing only people who I have a deeper relationship with (CANs and FANs). However, for some of my primary uses Finding Expertise via LinkedIn and LinkedIn Answers to Get Help, it makes more sense to connect to people who it will be good to be connected with in the future (PANs).

However, this is not really the case with the way I use Facebook and Twitter. Both of these tools are much more conversational tools for me.

In Twitter, I have people that I follow in order to listen into their conversation. If you try to listen to too many, or if you listen to people who you don't really have a relationship with, you will experience what I describe in Twitter Mass Follow - Nevermind - basically it feels like noise.

In Facebook, it's much the same. I have my friends who I want to get together with, see what they are doing, have conversations with.

Both Twitter and Facebook really are my CANs and FANs. In some ways, the goal on both is to stay more closely connected with FANs to keep the relationship alive. Something I must say that I'm not good at. I can think of a bunch of folks who I really like, get along really well with and who I won't talk to unless something unusual happens. It's nice when we can get a bit of that ongoing conversation via Facebook or Twitter.

Yes, I could theoretically open up to a much larger network and somewhat ignore the noise. This would get the advantage of being able to broadcast. But, it's really not the way I use these tools today.

Now, it took me 2-3 years to change my thinking about LinkedIn. So, with all fairness, it could be that I've not evolved my thinking about Twitter and Facebook.

When I step back and see the message, I'm sending, I'm a bit worried:
If we are connecting on LinkedIn based on a very loose relationship, maybe we'll have more conversations and get to the point where it makes sense to connect on Facebook and Twitter as well.
Does that sound bad?

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