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.

  • http://www.marketingpilgrim.com Andy Beal

    I’d like to think that people don’t take it personally if I don’t reply to their invite right away–or at all. Especially these days, I’m pretty much only active on Twitter.

  • http://www.dotcomsecrets.com Internet Marketing Joy

    Thanks Janet for the wonderful article..^^

    @Andy Beal: hehehe..hello Andy..^^..I’m one of your follower in Twitter..^^..unfortunately you did not follow me back…^^…but it’s ok, I don’t take it personally…^^

  • http://www.simplyfreeiphone.co.uk Steve Elliott

    My first confession….I’d never heard of Twitter prior to reading this thread (inserts imoticon for embarrassment!

    I have largely steered clear of the social networking scene. If I know people well enough that they are happy to accept me as a true friend, I will see them in person or speak over the phone. Everyone else I meet on t’internet, nice as they may be, are more passing acquaintances.

    My other problem with e-mail, texts and any kind of invite is that I feel compelled to respond. I am not sure if it my upbringing or possibly the onset of OCD, but I cannot just ignore them.

    To cap it all, I detest the spam bots out there that seem to plague social networking.

  • http://www.goodnightmoonfuton.com Futon-Matt

    I too have only heard about twitter once before, and that was on this blog. I find the idea of “online” friends on a service like that a bit weird anyhow so maybe thats why I haven’t explored it?

  • http://www.thevanblog.com Steven Bradley

    Andy you didn’t return my follow on Twitter and I’m so offended I’m changing the focus of my blog to be anti Andy Beal. I do hope you realize I’m kidding. Not offended at all.

    In general I’m not offended when someone doesn’t return the friending. I don’t return every one I get so why should I expect everyone else does.

    The only time I take it personal is when it’s someone I know well in another area of life. If we’re good friends offline and I know you’ve seen my invite then I would take the non-reply personally.

  • http://www.newhomessection.com Jayson

    It would be hard to be popular on line. I m unknown and still get tons of spam that can easily be ignored but for well know folks like you guys and the many Internet gurus I can imagine that it would be a full time job.

    What’s worse is that in some cases I’m sure the Internet celebs don’t want to hurt any feelings and genuinely do want to be friends with as many people as possible…fatigue is sure to kick in.

  • http://www.gowfb.com GoWFB

    I find it quite difficult to keep in touch with all the people that get in touch over these social networks. I find that i dont make any new friends this way, simply keep in touch with old ones.

  • http://www.capatrex.com Alexis

    I have started clearing out my friend lists. Its getting completely unmanageable.

  • http://www.simplyfreeiphone.co.uk Steve Elliott

    I’ve had to change the e-mail address that linked to my YouTube account. Only one video on there but the amount of random friends/watch this video/subscribe
    requests I get is incredible.

  • http://www.buyantiagingcream.com/ Steven Bradley

    I filter out most friends and only accept those that i really enjoy speaking to.

  • http://www.jordankasteler.com/utah-seo-pro-blog/ Utah SEO

    I find some people accepting friends request months later when I thought they just didn’t want to accept it to begin with.

  • http://chasinggoogle.blogspot.com/ Mobile guy

    Don’t answer to those 8000 friend requests.