Wednesday, October 01, 2008

October is Tend Your Graph Month

Since I’ve been working on Divvs for a while now, I’ve been thinking a lot about my social graph, because who I’m connected to now has a real way to reflect on who I am.

I’ve added a lot of people to my graph, especially on Facebook. How many High School and College friends that you haven’t spoken with, or
even thought about, in years do you have as friends on Facebook? How many strangers that you don’t really care about do you follow on Twitter?

So, I’ve decided that October will be Tend Your Graph Month, at least for me. If you’d like to join me, mention this post on your blog or on Twitter, or just write about it yourself.

How does it work? Spend time in October tending to you graph. Make sure you want to be friends with the people you’re friends with. Aggressively purge Twitter of people you don’t care about. Move people to LinkedIn if they’re purely business contacts who don’t need to know, or who you don’t want to know, what you’re doing this weekend.

I’m going to do the following steps. You don’t have to follow them, you can do your own thing. It’s cool.

Step 1: Pick your networks

I haven’t had much of a problem with over-proliferation of networks. I’m on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and that’s about it. I’ve got accounts all over the place, but those are all I check or care about.

If you have more than that, maybe this is a good time to reduce and simplify.

I’ve decided to stick with those 3, and add Dopplr, for reasons I’ll explain shortly. I’m going to use these networks how they were intended to be used.

  • Facebook is for friends. Real friends. People I know, in person, or who I know really well online. People I want to keep up with on a regular basis. People I want to keep up with me, and to know what I’m doing this weekend. Facebook is also for SUUSI friends, since that’s where they all are.
  • LinkedIn is for business contacts. If I have worked with you, done business with you, met you on a plane and talked business, met you at a conference, met you through a shared business connection, etc. If I’ve never done any of those things, you don’t belong in my LinkedIn graph.
  • Twitter is for people who I want to engage in conversations with in real time, or who do and say things that make me think, show me new ideas, or make me laugh.
  • Dopplr is for people who either travel frequently to either Alabama/NW Florida or to Atlanta that I might want to see when they’re here, or for people who live places to which I am likely to travel and that I’d want to see when I’m there. This is a very special-purpose site, but it’s going to be really useful for step 3.

Step 2: Go through each network, and make sure people are where they belong

Got business contacts on Facebook? Invite them to LinkedIn, and drop ‘em. No hard feelings, it doesn’t mean I don’t like you, it just means you were in the wrong place. College buddies on LinkedIn? Facebook or nothing (see step 3).

Step 3: For people who don’t fit anywhere, either change that or drop them

I have a bunch of High School friends on Facebook that I haven’t talked to since I dropped out of High School, and that I am almost certainly never going to talk to again. I am wasting my energy and theirs by being friends with them on Facebook.

I have a few High School and college friends (and 1 elementary school friend!) on Facebook that I wish I talked to more often. So, October is a great time to fix that. If they’re in Atlanta or other places I travel, I’ll be inviting them to Dopplr. I’ll be sending “Hey, so what’s been going on the past 10 years?” messages to them, hopefully 1 a day for the whole month of October.

And that’s it. That’s my plan. Feel free to follow it yourself, or make your own set of criteria. Or just spend a little time in October thinking about the people you’re connected to.


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