If you think about your friends — not the Facebook ones but the real offline friends who you talk to and see on a regular basis — they’re all the same. They mirror you socially, geographically, demographically, vocationally, politically, and intellectually. And the best of them are your clones.
If you think about former classmates, ex-coworkers, old flames, people living on your street, and other people you’ve met but never moved beyond acquaintances, when was the last time you asked them for advice or shared something new about your life? Because these weak and absent ties don’t mirror you and your strong ties aka besties, wouldn’t you welcome their insights?
I recently wrote about weak ties and the importance of connecting with people who either you don’t know well or don’t know at all. This applies to traditional networking and social media. It’s more important online, though.
The fallacy is of the three big networking sites, Facebook and LinkedIn frown on connecting with weak ties; whereas Twitter is OK with it.
- Facebook says …you should only send friend requests to people you have a real-life connection to, like your friends, family, coworkers or classmates.
- LinkedIn says …the basic type of connection is a contact you know personally and who you trust on a professional level.
- Twitter says …”people you may know” are based on an algorithm that makes personalized suggestions for you.
If you adhere to Twitter’s philosophy then you should befriend people on Facebook and connect to people on LinkedIn regardless how well you know them. This is important because if you limit your online relations to strong ties, you’re saying fuck you to everyone else. Don’t be that person.