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A few years ago I blogged a mini rant about communicating with folks. Today I happened to login to LinkedIn for the first time in months and see my inbox has over 100 messages & group invites. Just for fun I check out Facebook and see well over 300 unread messages. Twitter private direct messages is an equally amusing story.

Look, I get these features are well used by a vast majority of folks, but personally I just don't get it. Maybe I'm too old school (exhibit A: the constant grey hair increase... but hey I'm still under 40!), but I can't stand trying to communicate this way. For me, here's how I see these major social networking sites, all of which I have a presence on (I'm using me/my in the general sense):

  • Facebook - for me to connect and check in on what my personal friends, old personal friends and some professional associates are up to. This is me dressed business casual or ready for a night out on the town after work or with friends.
  • LinkedIn - the professional version of Facebook. No way in the world will you see me linking my Facebook status updates or tweets into this. This is me in a coat & tie or very nice business casual.
  • Twitter - stream of conscious. At first I dismissed Twitter but finally saw the light and jumped on. In that time I made a comment I still think is true: Twitter is like walking into a bar at happy hour and hearing every conversation at once. Generally this is me with flip flops, shorts & a tshirt on.

Despair.com (a heck of a funny site) put a picture out a long time ago that I think still nails it:

I think it's interesting how some folks seem to want to "collect" friends on Facebook & contacts on LinkedIn. Look, if that's your song, go ahead and dance, but it isn't mine. When I look at someone's profile on Facebook, I'm sort of expecting who you said is a friend is really a friend. When I look at your network on LinkedIn, if I ask you about someone I hope the answer isn't "oh, I have no idea who that recruiter is." There goes a big piece of value from those sites at that time.

Folks, please don't take offense if I don't accept your friend request on Facebook or LinkedIn. If we don't personally know each other then I'm not going to do it just to increase my friend count. That's what Twitter is for... follow different folks all you like.

Another thing... these sites all have ways of posting private messages to each other. Arg... this is so amazing to me and many others! Look, on each of those sites just like everyone else out there, I post my blog URL in my profile. On my blog there's this novel page called CONTACT ME. That sends me an email. If you want to talk to me, I want to talk TO YOU so give me your email. Don't make me visit some site or check some app on my phone/laptop just to communicate with you. I doubt we all want to check our email & three other apps when we touch down in a new city to check our messages once we can turn our phones back on before we get to the gate. I know I don't want to, so I don't. If you send a message on those sites I won't see it anytime soon or at all...

Help folks, help us use social media mediums for the purpose they were intended for... #justsayin ;)

</rant>

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