Online friends

One of the tricks of online networking is figuring out how to handle them. There’s a new article from the Wall Street Journal titled OMG, We’re Not BFFs Anymore? Getting ‘Unfriended’ Online Stings

A friend passed the link on, and it got me thinking, because I’m about to do another round of editing, as my early spring promises to be absurdly busy.

My main online home for my personal life is LiveJournal, which can be somewhat more time-consuming to keep up with than other social networking sites, because it’s a journal and community site (which means posts can get lengthy!)

My usual method of editing (which I do once a year or so) goes like this:

1) Look at everyone I’ve got listed.

2) Keep everyone who falls into any of the following categories:

  • People I see regularly.
  • People I talk to regularly, even if they’re not local, or whose lives I really want to stay up to date on. (Close college friends, for example.)
  • People whose posts I really enjoy reading/who make me think/etc.

(People often fall into more than one of these categories, of course!)

I then look at removing anyone who I added as part of a specific project/community/etc. For example, I’ve participated in several swap communities, and while I like meeting new people through them, I connect with some of them more than others. The ones I don’t connect with as much, I might drop.

One quick way for me to sort through these is for me is to look at people I’ve directly interacted with (for example, they’ve left a comment in my journal, or I’ve left a comment in their’s, at least once in  the last year.)  If I haven’t had any one-on-one contact with someone in that time, I’ll probably think about dropping them.

That said, most of my posts there are locked – only people on my friends list can see them. So I also do a note saying “I’ve just done a bunch of editing based on who’s directly interacted in the last year  – if you’ve been dropped, and really are reading and interested, please let me know.” It seems to work reasonably well (and in a couple of cases, people have felt more comfortable with asking me questions/commenting, because they know I’m interested in it.)

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