Social Network Connection Categories

I have Facebook friends, Twitter followers, LinkedIn connections and Google contacts. If you put most of them in front of me, I would have no idea who they are. Why am I connected to all these people? I actually know about 5% of my social connections. How does that help me or anyone else?

Think of the taxonomy of people in your network. There is, of course, a million variations such as “Used to be friends, but we have fallen apart” or “I worked closely with them 6 years ago.” However, that doesn’t lend itself to a coherent network. I have tried to narrow it down to four categories.

Negative
Don’t try to get introduced through me. Don’t mention me. They hate me! Wouldn’t it be nice to know this?

Handshake
I wouldn’t recognize them if they bumped into me. I don’t really know them. We met at a conference once and connected. Don’t ask for a backdoor reference or an introduction. This is the pure definition of “loose acquaintance”. When they say hello, you draw a blank on their name.

Friendly
These are people I would recognize and actually talk to. I remember their names. I have been to dinner with them or worked closely with them and have fond memories of it. These are people you should ask for recommendations or backdoor referrals. I can give actual insight into their character.

BFF
These are people who I am on excellent terms with. I spend at least 1 day a week with them. They would do me a favor if I asked. These are the people you would choose to be stranded with on a desert island.

Wouldn’t it be better if your social network was divided up this way? You could give different permissions based on that? I think the way it is today is kinda broken. What do you think?

1 thought on “Social Network Connection Categories”

  1. Absolutely. But highly unlikely that LinkedIn would invest any resources to help their ‘members’, it’s all about their recruiter products.

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