Why I’m not connected to you on Facebook or LinkedIn (but do follow on Twitter and Friendfeed)

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Here are my current informal policies for using Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Friendfeed.  Short version – Facebook and LinkedIn I use for people I know personally, Twitter and Friendfeed any interesting input is welcome.

Facebook: This has been rapidly going mainstream lately. I had a mostly unused account for a long time, which has become more interesting/active as people I know sign up.  I presently only link to people I know in real life. Facebook is interesting because there are people I haven’t interacted with for years (high school friends etc) as well as people that live next door (literally) and colleagues from past work projects all mixed together, and they all get to eavesdrop and engage in casual/passive interaction. I currently have my Twitter feed linked to update my Facebook status, which means my messages are probably cryptic to about half the readers at any given time.

LinkedIn: I originally only linked to people I worked with and knew very well. I have broadened out the criteria over the years, and at this point I will link to people that I haven’t worked with but have at least actually met and had a conversation with. I basically don’t link to people I don’t know and haven’t met, though. I’d to at least be able to recognize people I’m linked to, and have a clue about what they’re like. So no “LinkedIn Open Networking” for me.

Twitter: I look for interesting (to me) streams, whether or not I know the author. Most of my twitter feed is people I haven’t met in person.  I follow people I know in real life, and also discover people who have commented on something that turned up in a conversation or a search. I don’t auto follow, although I do try to take a look at who’s on my follower list periodically to see if there is someone I should add.  Twitter has also been the most interesting for making new connections with people in real life, as you can get a sense of topic people are thinking about and what they’re more generally like.  I use Twitter for scanning a range of topics, so I’m a little less interested in people with huge follower counts and more interested in people kicking out uncorrelated but interesting ideas and data.  I’m working on tools for scanning and filtering status and sentiment streams, so in theory a bigger source network is better, if you can make effective use of it.

Friendfeed: Sometimes I feel like Friendfeed is the Robert Scoble/Louis Gray channel, but I have seeded it with my Twitter feed and have gradually added people as they are exposed through the “friend of” feature.  I always have the feeling that I’m not making the best use of Friendfeed. I like the conversations that pop up on posted items, but wish for the range of input that comes from the huge user bases on Twitter and Facebook. Then again, maybe not Facebook inputs here, I also enjoy the relative skew towards content from early adopters that persists for now on Friendfeed.

If I know you in real life, feel free to send me a Facebook or LinkedIn request, there have been a lot of people signing up lately and I’ve been enjoying reconnecting with people I haven’t heard from in a while.  If I don’t know you (yet), you’re welcome to follow on Twitter (@hjl) or Friendfeed (hjl).

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