Archive for October, 2011

To Add or Not To Add? That is the Question!

October 19, 2011

You’ve faced it. A co-worker or person you met casually at a social event attempting to add you as a Friend on Facebook

The Definition of Friend Has Changed Since They Made the top TV Sitcom


Worse. You are AT the event and a Blackberry is whipped out along with the question: What’s your BB pin – I’ll add you.

Five years ago there were close friends and best friends. Now there appears to be a conundrum caused by the question: To Add or Not To Add. What is a friend and how close do we have to be to add you to my social media world or (gasp) my smart phone messaging list.

Should you add this new person to become their friend?

Are they already a friend because you met them once?

My answer to both? Set rules for yourself and stick to them. The definition of friend has changed a lot since Jennifer Anniston and crew made it seem all fun and games on TV! Digital friends have more potential for ruining your reputation that genuine ones. With the click of a button you can begin digital assassination. With a mobile phone you can misconstrue text messages and take BBM/What’s App etc posts out of context to the detriment of the sender. So you need to set some ground rules and share them so people respect them.

If faced with the Facebook question of adding a person you barely know, consider sending a direct message (inbox message) saying: So great meeting you, I prefer to get to know people a little better before we become Facebook friends. Look forward to meeting up again soon! When next will you be hanging out?

Rude? No.

You acknowledged the friend request, stated your own personal policy and indicated you hoped to meet up again soon. Clear? Yes.

Will some be offended? Yes.

Should you care? No.

Why? If a person really wants to become your friend, they should respect your values. Being clear and upfront about your personal policy is a way of protecting your privacy and digital image. In the world of tomorrow, that image will be priceless. Don’t let fear of being honest cheat you of your future.

What about the add me to your BBM/ Smart phone question? Depends on how you operate your smart phone. In reality you shouldn’t be doing anything on your smartphone (especially Black Berry Messenger) you would not want your grandparents, boss or religious leader to see. If you don’t that’s a whole other risk. However, if you simply prefer a closer link consider saying:

Let’s exchange numbers. I prefer voice calls and texts. My number is…

Direct? Yes.

Opens up to further conversation? No.

What if they ask…? Say. Sorry, I really prefer just to exchange numbers.

Will they decline? No.

By offering your number first you take control of the conversation and show your being open to stay in touch. You also state two ways they can use the technology to stay in touch. Don’t be afraid to say no.

You don’t have to use these phrases verbatim. Just have a personal policy. Maybe you don’t want to be Facebook buddies with your boss or coworkers. I once had a team member that said “I don’t add co-workers to my Facebook”. I asked why. They explained. I had no choice but to respect it…It is after all – social media.

Don’t wait for the question to have a policy people – have your answer ready and don’t be afraid to use honesty to protect your digital integrity.