Those who have been following my series on UNsocial Networking know I’ve been resistant to the idea of adding friends on Facebook for a few months. Instead, I’ve been developing a profile, and just participating in groups and on public pages.
Are you afraid of Facebook’s privacy invasion?
No, I’m not on the bandwagon of people boycotting the site because of privacy issues. It’s a well-known fact by now that Facebook works for the advertisers, and if you want to protect your personal information from advertisers…well, good luck. You’ll want to get off the internet, stop using email, and and stop your mail, I guess. For the rest of us, getting spammed with unwanted ads is a fact of life in the year 2014. It’ll probably be one of those things our decade is known for when future generations want to mimic the early 21st century.
My hesitation to start networking on Facebook again is explained in detail in UNsocial Networking: Because friends don’t let friends SMO and also Dissociative Social Media Identity. Essentially, I like to network with people from a wide variety of social groups, and sometimes those groups don’t play well together. I’ve discovered it is vital to treat social networks as venues, and choose friends for each social network wisely.
Why did you change your mind?
While I’m not actually producing anything marketable at the moment, I will be within the next year or so, and I don’t want to be trying to build an effective network from scratch, and working on my actual “work” at the same time.
I’m also very aware that if one goes about this in the wrong way, people don’t like it. To me, it’s important to be genuine with people, and develop relationships, and let the marketing happen organically. If I want to “advertise,” I’ll simply buy ads which will be placed where people expect to see ads. I won’t spam people I’ve been building networking relationships with for the last several months.
And I really don’t want to be THAT social networker who is like the people who are always inviting the same friends to their home shows to sell jewelry or dishes or candles (nothing against people who like that sort of thing, it just isn’t me). I don’t want to guilt-trip my friends into plugging my book or artwork just because they feel sorry for me. I want my friends to be friends and my business network to be just that. If there is some overlap, great, but I don’t want to put undue pressure on people.
How do you build a network on Facebook?
So, after a few months of using Facebook solely as a place to interact at the page and group level, I’ve decided to jump in all the way, and start adding friends again. Basically, I’m adding other people who want to network based on a common interest. I’m not adding people from my groups (unless they send me a friend request, of course). The groups tend to be private, and sending unsolicited friend requests to someone you don’t know from a Facebook group often makes people feel awkward…I’ve seen several comments in various groups to this effect.
Instead, I’m adding authors, writers, and people who are interested in digital art…who don’t mind networking with people they haven’t necessarily met in real life. How do I know? Well, usually, they have several hundred “friends” on Facebook, and we have several mutual friends. I got started by adding fellow bloggers, and my contacts on LinkedIn (hey, I finally found a good use for LinkedIn!), and from Twitter, then branched out from there. I added a few people who are influencers in virtual worlds art, then began adding mutual friends from there. I’m up to about 150 as of today, and the network is growing.
Feel free to add me as a friend on Facebook, if you enjoy writing or digital art!