Facebook: the twenty-to-one rule

August 29, 2009 | Phil Fersht

I just read yet another media article, this time in the WSJ, on the downsides of using social media tools such as Facebook.  While the theme of this article is spot-on, it's merely journalistic negativity to bash a new way of doing things. 

Google_facebook Facebook is a great tool because you control how you use it.  Yes, it's rude not to accept a friend-request from a colleague, but you can do so in a way that they will never see your updates and you can choose not to see theirs'.  They are essentially becoming an addition to your contact database where you can view their contacts too.

And if you find my status updates irritating, then turn off my updates, or de-friend me.  I don't want you... if you don't want me.  For every 20 great interactions I have, one person may get annoyed, or I may get annoyed by someone else.  That person can then remove my updates, of I can remove theirs', so that ratio now moves to thirty-to-one, and so on.  Yes, Facebook

newbies may be over-excited with their initial interactions, but they will quickly learn the etiquette of how to manage their social network.  And if they don't, then ease them out of your inner circle.

I love Facebook because, unlike Twitter, I control my environment.  I choose who's in there and I can develop mindless relationships with people I like (or just find amusing).  My job is so busy, so intense, that the few minutes a day spent reading about what people have for lunch, what they think of Delta, or the severity of their hangover, is a pleasant relief after hours of discussing cost-containment measures with some finance director... 

I now have friends I would never have had if it wasn't for this silly application.  True, nothing beats a pie-and-a-pint, but you can only do that with people in your home town.  What's more, I don't always have time to pick up the phone to interact, and I certainly don't have a lot of time for pies and pints these days.  But a few seconds to type mindless banter with friendly folks?  Works for me everytime...

Posted in: Social Networking

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  1. Ratnesh Mathur
    Posted Aug 31, 2009 07:15 AM | Permalink Reply

    Lets FACE it, Phil - you cant judge a BOOK by looking at the cover ! Old rules on etiquette, still apply to the digital world- here is a refresher - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iROYzrm5SBM But if you try the reverse, this is what you get - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nrlSkU0TFLs

  2. Alan Scott
    Posted Sep 02, 2009 12:48 AM | Permalink Reply

    Thank you for your perspective. I have been struggling on how to best utilize my online social network. Specifically, mixing business with personal.

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