My mother used to divide the world into strangers, acquaintances, friendly acquaintances, friends, and family. It took a lot to be considered a "friend."
Web 2.0 and Social Media attempt to redefine "friendship." It seems somehow rude to decline an invitation of "friendship" by a complete stranger. But nobody has 3000 friends. Fans, maybe. Or people who are hoping to ride the wave and make friends of your friends in order to increase their downline.
Well, here's a newsflash - I'm not adding you back as a friend or even a "contact" unless one or more of the following conditions are met:
- You are a family member;
- You are an offline friend or "friendly acquaintance" - that is, we've actually met in person and I don't dislike you;
- I have had some personal conversation with you in the past, beyond "hi plz add me 2 yer contacts" (note: spelling and behaving like a real human being help);
- You send me a personal note within 15 minutes of adding me, telling me why you want me as a friend (and I'm satisfied that your reasons are genuine and not just an impersonal attempt at commercial network building);
- Your blogs or Web site indicate that you are a real human being with an independently functioning brain, opinions of your own, and a personality and your content isn't (a) 90% written by others (whether or not you've credited them - plagiarism is only one step down the ladder of disgusting from copyright violation); or (b) completely scraped off free articles sites; or (c) solely intended to bilk Google's AdSense out of revenue.
If I have clicked that little "add to contacts" or "add friend" button on your site and failed to introduce myself, it means one of the following:
- I know you - or think I do;
- I've talked to you or read your sites and think you fall into one of the categories outlined above;
- I was surfing drunk;
- I hit the wrong button.
Hey, we all make mistakes.