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Social media: do I have to follow you too?

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Wide White: Social media: do I have to follow you too?

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Social media: do I have to follow you too?

Facebook, Twitter, and even blogs all have a common question: If you follow, friend, or link me, am I obliged to do the same in response?

Each social media platform is unique in how its participants interact with one another. While Facebook has the option of hiding or assigning limited profiles to friends, I have no problem ignoring someone I'm not really friends with. Twitter has the "follow" concept where you can follow without being followed back and vice versa, and my policy is to follow only those I actually read.

Blogs are a little more free-reign. If someone is reading my blog, am I obligated to read theirs? If someone has linked to my blog from theirs, am I obligated to link to their blog from mine?

As with Twitter, I only link to blogs I actually read. If I quit reading a blog, I remove it. I'm not a fan of everything I read on every blog I follow. I rarely agree with MN Democrat and there's an occasional quote at Overheard in Minneapolis that's saltier than I care for. But there's enough humor and insight for me to keep reading and if I ever quit, I'll remove them.

I've been de-friended, unfollowed, and had links to my blog removed. I can only think of one time that it's ever bothered me, and only because it was from someone who had been one of my biggest supporters and then dropped me without saying a word. But for the most part, it doesn't matter to me. What I say isn't really that interesting to a lot of people. The potential audience for a few paragraphs of who-knows-what each morning is pretty limited, especially when that content doesn't fall neatly into any single category.

I'll keep cranking out material in my typical WYSIWYG fashion - What You See Is What You Get. I'll try to improve at what warrants a Facebook status, tweet, or blog post and what doesn't. Obviously I hope that what I have to say is valuable enough to keep bringing you back. If it doesn't, I'm glad I could at least entertain, inform, humor, or perhaps frustrate you for a short time.

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Anonymous Bill Roehl declared,

I don't link to any other blogs on my site unless it's relevant to the post I'm writing. This has pissed off many people who don't understand why I don't have a blogroll. My explanation of space, content and being anal retentive about my site design aren't usually good enough answers for them.

As for Twitter I like to keep the list of those I'm following to less than 80. Sometimes it temporarily creeps towards 100 but only when I'm not paying attention.

Facebook/LinkedIn are whole different animals. I need to know/have worke with the person or, in the case of LinkedIn, have some sort of future employment interest in whatever it is you for me to connect. People really dislike my Faceboo standards but I'm The Gatekeeper and I am not interested unless you're The Keymaster.

12/02/2010 7:15 AM  
Blogger Joey declared,

It doesn't bother me that you do it that way or that anyone else does. As I always say with anyone, your blog is your blog and you can do whatever you want to with it.

I guess I do it partly as a way of referencing what I'm following and partly because it's one of the primary means of blogs picking up new readers. I get a number of my hits through other blogs and want to help others with that support network. I personally don't often click through others' blogrolls but enough people do that I think it's worth having and it's easy to stash at the bottom of the right column if you want it out of the way.

Of course, there's the problem that some people will feel that you're automatically endorsing everything on any site you link, but I think most people recognize that's not the case.

12/02/2010 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Bill Roehl declared,

Yeah, the endorsement thing doesn't work for me. I read plenty of websites which I don't endorse simply because I prefer to be informed from as many different angles as possible.

12/03/2010 6:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous declared,

We've wandered away from Twitter and focused more on the blog over the last few months. We find the interaction on the blog a lot more fulfilling. Hearing your thoughts, reading Bill, Sank and several others have given us a sense of community that isn't as present on Twitter.
We initially started the Twitter account when we were trying to sell our house to see if it would help in a tough market. Then we grew our follow and followers by including several folks that were local, liked MN sports teams, healthy eating and few that were relevant to both our jobs.
We've paired those we follow down. As for FB, we both have kept our friend lists focused and neither of us do a ton on LinkedIn. I (Brent) follow a few resource groups on LinkedIn, but it's mostly for white papers.
We don't expect anyone to return a blog roll list. If they do, that's great! It's certainly an encouragement to us that we're providing valuable content, but we don't expect it.
You helped us get going on Google Reader and we find ourselves getting through content efficiently by keeping up to date with most posts in there.

12/05/2010 12:12 AM  
Blogger Joey declared,

Brent, if there's one thing I could do over again in starting my blog, it would be to get my own domain name. It's pretty cheap and gives you better identity as well as control if you were ever to move off of the Wordpress platform. I don't know how big your readership is, but if it's not real big yet, I would do it. I've been blogging for almost 5 years and I still consider moving away from the blogspot domain.

12/05/2010 12:18 AM  

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