The Problem of Too Many [Online] Friends
It’s tough to empathize with people who complain about being too popular. But with the ease of making friends online (all it takes is an email!) friend invite fatigue can set in. Friends real and friends unknown want you to be their Facebook, MySpace, Spinn, LinkedIn, Good Reads, and other social network friend.
But even though I would get follower fatigue if I followed too many more people on Twitter, it’s the exception for me. There’s always room for another friend. Plus it’s proactive. No one has asked me to follow them on Twitter.
When someone new follows you on Twitter, it’s an instant (implied) invite to follow them back. Sometimes I miss a chance to follow someone I know or would like to know because I don’t recognize them by their screen name.
Daniel Terdiman at CNET wrote about how social networking site invites are a plague that spreads across the Internet. Follow-up or reminder emails only make it more annoying.
Here’s my take on it – I assume people won’t take it personally if I don’t respond to their friend request. There are email filters too, so like one person who commented on the story, you can decide when and if you respond.
As Terdiman points out, sites like Facebook have lists of your contacts and unless you unselect them, they’ll get an invite from you. So you might not even be aware that you’re spamming your friends. It can leave a bad [MLM flavored] taste in your actual friend’s mouth.Where I can see the biggest gripe is for the truly popular. I can see why someone like Bill Gates, would get off Facebook rather than clogging his inbox with over 8,000 friend requests a day.
Other people use invites to new sites as a sign they are in the know. A kind of alert system to keep pulse on the industry. Or, to find new ways to build links (thank you LinkedIn for having NoFollow – but even if you didn’t I’d still love you).
What we want is a universal vCard that will fill out at least the bulk of a new profiles when we do want to join a network. Hopefully Google’s OpenSocial can help in this regard.