Social Media and why I won't "add you"

There are a lot of options for connecting with people online these days, and I use many of them. To differing degrees, the main ones I use are Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Email, Skype, and Slack.

So which do I use for what purpose, and why did I only supply links for two of them?!

Over the past few years, I've started being more careful about the contacts I have through these channels. If you've asked me to "add you" on a particular channel, I might have ignored you or refused. This post explains why.

Note: There's a chance I'll come across like an arsehole in this post. My intent is to explain, not offend. But if you think I'm doing it wrong... uh, I'm sorry you feel that way.

Twitter

I use Twitter a lot. My profile and tweets are public, and I tweet a mix of personal and work-related stuff. I'm really happy for anyone to follow me. Seriously, go do it.

I respond to most @ tweets, but fair warning - if an account is abusive or a bit too spammy, I won't hesitate to block and report.

Twitter is almost certainly the best way to connect with me.

The accounts I follow are extremely varied as well. There are a lot of tech people, but also family, sports people, companies, parody accounts - basically anything I want to read. If I don't follow you and you think I should, let me know! I might! But I also might not. Please don't be offended.

LinkedIn

I rarely use LinkedIn. I'll keep my profile more or less up to date, but blog posts happen on my blog, and I'll post interesting links to Twitter.

I do have a lot of LinkedIn contacts, but I'm pretty strict on who I "connect with".

If I've annoyed you by "not connecting", there's a good chance it was on LinkedIn.

As a rule, I don't connect with recruiters. No, I'm not interested in the job you think I'm perfect for because my profile matched the keywords in your search.

I also don't connect with people I haven't met. It's great that you have a similar job as me, or you like the same things, but I treat LinkedIn as a place to keep track of people I actually know.

Facebook

I use Facebook frequently, but only for friends and family. Luckily Facebook friend requests are few and far between. I'll let you read into that what you will.

The overlap between business connections and Facebook friends is small,
and I intend to keep it that way.

Occasionally, work-related stuff will creep onto Facebook, but I'm conscious that most of my Facebook friends, well, couldn't care less. So it doesn't happen a lot.

Email

I welcome emails! So why didn't I provide a link to my email above?

It's not hard to find an email address for me, and I'd prefer if you did a little bit of work. It indicates that you actually wanted to contact me (and not that you spammed an address you found somewhere). It's a coarse-grained filter. Of course, if I meet you in person and you ask, there's a good chance I'll give it to you.

If I haven't given you my email address,
it's not hard to find if you actually want to contact me.

I've set up a lot of email addresses. Ultimately they filter into the same couple of accounts, but into different folders. Some I care about deeply, some not so much. Some only exist so I can see who sold my details.

For that reason, I'll check the publicly-available ones a lot less than the others.

Of course, just because I welcome emails, doesn't mean I'm great at returning them. By its very nature, email is asynchronous, so I might not reply to you today. Or tomorrow. Or this month.

Skype

Skype is great for voice and video conversations. That means if we're connected on Skype, it's almost certainly because we needed to see and/or hear each other at some point in the past.

My Skype contact list consists almost exclusively of people
I previously needed to have a conversation with.

Unless we need to speak remotely, I won't add anyone on Skype. For me, it has one purpose, and making new friends isn't it.

Slack

At time of writing, I'm up to eleven Slack Teams. Yes, it feels like a lot, and yes, they're sometimes a pain to manage. They're all tech-related, and I'm very unlikely to join a Slack Team unless it has relevance to me right now.

Each Slack Team has a purpose,
but if we're on the same Slack Team, let's chat!

I find them extremely useful. For example, the Octopus Slack Team is how I communicate with the rest of the company about 99% of the time.

Interestingly, I'm not in any public teams. All are invitation-only, and I only manage one of them myself.

Summary

So that's how I treat my social media accounts, and why I might have ignored your "friend request" or "network connection". Don't take it personally!

I like to meet new people in person, not online.

I'm friendly, I promise. So come say hi to me at a conference, or ping me on Twitter!

All icons sourced from https://icons8.com/

Damian Brady

I'm an Australian developer, speaker, and author specialising in DevOps, developer process, and software architecture. I love Octopus Deploy, Visual Studio Team Services, and reducing process waste.