Others will post more profound observations about Google+, but for me it has provoked one fundamental question: what are my rules for adding friends, followers, people into circles etc. on the different social networks I use? Oddly, thinking about this has actually led to a rationalisation of my Facebook use – more on that below.
Anyway here are – now – my rules for who I’ll add where.
Facebook – you can find my profile here, and my new page here.
Previously I would be happy to add anyone as a friend on Facebook I had actually met. This started to get ludicrous, with more than 1000 ‘friends’. So I now have a new criterion, and a reduced number of friends: Facebook friends are people I know well enough to conceivably meet for a coffee or a beer if I happen to be in the city where these folks live. If you don’t meet that criterion you’ll be kindly declined. If you want to follow what I do professionally – in EU politics, UK politics or tech and politics – then the page should do the job (although one of the networks below should be a better bet!) Plus you can contact me on Facebook anyway if you want to, you just don’t need to know what I am doing here and now.
Twitter – you can follow me here.
This remains more or less unchanged – I do not automatically follow anyone that follows me, but do go through to work out who to follow on the basis of the biographies of people following me. If you sound interesting from that then I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt, and if I build real engagement with you I’ll add you to a list. I do not have to know you to want to follow you. At the time of writing I’m following 2515 and have 3589 followers – expect both numbers to increase. Twitter is more of a professional tool for me than Facebook, and what I write goes across all the three of my main areas of interest – EU politics, UK politics and tech and politics. I’ll do my best to respond to any valid question posed to be on Twitter, but that’s not always possible. You can be sure I read all @replies though.
Google+ – my profile is here.
The new show in town, and – so far at least – the one with the best tools to manage all these different social groups. I’ll follow anyone who seems interesting (Twitter-style) but will add close friends to more restricted circles (Facebook-style, and even more narrow), and can work out what to share with whom on the very same network. Each professional area I work in has its own circle, with a little overlap between them. I’ve only just started out here, so don’t yet have even 100 people in my circles – you’re welcome to add me if you think a connection would make sense for some reason.
LinkedIn – my profile is here.
I’ve never been the biggest fan of LinkedIn – 446 connections (much less than Facebook or Twitter) is testimony to that. I take the approach that if people search for me they are welcome to connect as nothing on LinkedIn is not available elsewhere on the public web. Tags help me separate out the different professional interests from each other, and I am yet to determine the right strategy for LinkedIn groups. You’re welcome to add me as a connection.
I also have profiles on XING (70 contacts), Quora (approx 200 following / followers), Plaxo (30 contacts), Diaspora (5 contacts), Path (1 contact), but am not actively using any of these. I’m also on Foursquare and Dopplr, but my use of both of those is for informational rather than social networking purposes.