Every now and then this discussion resurfaces.
Background: I have decided to adopt a variable connection policy on Social Networks. Namely, Twitter is my SN of choice to “meet” people I don’t know, Facebook is a land of variable networks and LinkedIn is my professional life.
As a result, I do proactively seek people I don’t know IRL on Twitter to make my stream more interesting, I accept friendship requests from people I don’t know on Facebook (but I don’t proactively friend people I don’t know) and only accept (and demand) connections requests on LinkedIn from people I have met IRL.
This means that I have very little (17 at the time of writing) in terms of unanswered friendship requests on FB (the blatantly promotional profiles, any profile with too much skin showing, brands…) while I have a sizable (400+) backlog on Linkedin.
That said, all three networks are for me roughly the same size (hovering today around 1600/1700 units each) I situation I have previously called “a perfect square”, with the fourth side being the names on my Names & Address Book.
I am not trying to say that THIS is the best policy, but it’s the one that I adopted and openly stated (although, like everything on Linkedin, it’s not immediately evident).
I am perfectly OK if yours is different. My egoistic reason for it is the fact that I rely on my LinkedIn network for business purposes, something that I would find impossible if I did not know these people in real life.
Occasionally, someone feels offended by my lack of responsiveness on Linkedin and I get into mildly annoying discussions about my choice, so let’s state this as clearly as possible: the fact I do not respond shouldn’t be construed as rejection, but merely as a pause, waiting for the opportunity to meet in person: in fact I am anxious to expand my professional network as much as possible, and welcome every opportunity to have a chat over coffee (or beer).