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