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How and Why I use Social Networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. A Social Networking Policy

If you’re only interested in my Twitter Following Policy, jump to the bottom of this post. However, I recommend you read the entire article, and please leave Comments.

If you’re anything like me, you belong to at least one of a growing number of social networks such as LinkedIn or Facebook. You may also have a Blog like this one, or an account at a photo sharing site such as Flickr. Regardless of what services you use, I’m sure you’ve noticed that as the numbers of these sites have proliferated, the effort required maintaining your presence on each (duplicating information from site to site, getting people to “friend,” “connect” or “follow” at each location) is increasing. So how does one manage?

The answer is that it’s not always necessary to have all of your “connections” on each type of site. This is because each site has its own personality and serves a different audience. As users become more sophisticated they are developing different expectations and it’s now acceptable to maintain a different presence with a different set of “friends” on each network. But how do you choose which site to use for which purpose and whom to invite to which one?

To answer this question, I’ve established the following Social Networking/Following Policy so that anyone who wishes to “connect,” “friend” or “follow” me can clearly understand how and why and on which service I may, or may not, chose to interact with them. As a result, my policy helps me manage the expectations of my network. When everyone knows what to expect, they won’t be upset if, for example, I connect with them on LinkedIn, but haven’t “friended” them on Facebook.

To keep things simple, I’ve placed my policy in chart form for easy reference. I also have a more detailed Twitter Policy (bottom) as I use Twitter the most and feel it requires specifics.

Feel free to contact me as stipulated on the appropriate network. I also appreciate feedback, so please leave a comment on my blog. It encourages conversation not only between both of us, but by other visitors.

Social Networking/Following Policy
Social Networking Policy

I also maintain a presence on a few other services, but as I am not active I will leave details for a later time. Additionally, for those who are interested, I will post a more detailed description about how I use Social Networks in the near future.


This Following Policy is specifically for Twitter and was established so that my Followers can clearly understand why I may or may not follow them back, and how quickly they can expect me to start following. To be sure, this is not my entire process. When I learn that someone is following me I usually do things like look at their Profile page, review some of their comments and Favorites, and look at who they follow and who is following them, etc.

I highly recommend that all Twitter users adopt policies of their own. I believe it will help reduce churn and make Twittering a better experience for all.


If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me here or through any of the social networks in the orange bar at the top of the page.

I look forward to hearing from you. And please leave a comment.


  1. flicka47

    Wow,your organized!
    I got here by reading a Yahoo article about the #nasatweetup.It gave twitter links for you and several others. While I love Twitter’s immediacy,I also like to read a more complete version of things such as the launch. So here I am!

    This “connecting” with everyone across so many different formats has been getting very confusing! I don’t use any of them for business,but I thought at first I would keep facebook for family,but before I knew it I was friending all my “close” Twitter followers…and then my dog got her own blog(s)!

    I like your idea of figuring out which folks should fit better where.I think I will go work on my own following policy for some kind of clarity for why “my” folks are connected and where.

  2. theakenodsest

    Generally I do not post on blogs, but I would love to mention that this post extremely forced me to try and do therefore! really nice post.

  3. nowchangeyourlife

    Now Thats What I Call Music 2 My Ears Nice, useful stuff. Namaste!

  4. Jennie Snyder
    Jennie Snyder01-04-2010

    Thank you for useful and clear information on how to use Twitter in a meaningful way.

  5. Isabelle

    I don’t usually reply to posts but I will in this case, great info…I will add a backlink and bookmark your site. Keep up the good work!

  6. FrankT

    Hey, I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog!…..I”ll be checking in on a regularly now….Keep up the good work! :)

  7. bmose14

    I like it, very similar to my unwritten social media ‘policies’. Never thought of writing them down, but maybe I will now! I like to keep Facebook private but really anything else is fair game. I’m going to try and connect with you on LinkedIn and see what happens :)

  8. Carol Putalavage
    Carol Putalavage02-17-2010

    Great Post! I love reading it.

  9. Miriam Evers
    Miriam Evers02-24-2010

    From what you’ve written I can see a clear advantage to having a social media policy. Thanks!

  10. capabilitymom

    Great post and nicely stated policy – Thanks!

  11. Ray McGlew
    Ray McGlew08-13-2010

    Great policy, kinda puts in writing what I have been doing myself.

  12. Melissa

    Clear overview. You inspired me to (re)think about my “policy” . Thanks!

  13. zombieville usa
    zombieville usa08-03-2011

    I agree with your My Following Policy | Neal Wiser’s HyperTense Blog, superb post.

  14. tvisiobroadcast

    Yes Neal, You are definitely Wiser…thanks for your sane and ethical approach to unfollowing. I plan to fully follow you across platforms. I am attempting to fine tune my contacts and would like to include you.

  15. Elizabeth H Cottrell (@riverwoodwriter)
    Elizabeth H Cottrell (@riverwoodwriter)10-18-2011

    This is one of the most sensible approaches to this dilemma that I have seen. When I started on Twitter, it was hard to imagine having to think about following too many people. Now that I understand the purpose of effective tweeting, I am rethinking a lot of things. This post was very helpful.

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